• Description

What does it look like when parents, business leaders, taxpayers, and other community members take responsibility for public education? Communities at Work takes a look at strategies that have been used to build public responsibility for public education in communities across the country. Before people can demand change -- and hold themselves and policymakers accountable for making and sustaining change -- they must first engage in a process of identifying problems and the actions to be taken. Framing a problem is an important part of engaging people in collaborative action. Understanding what action to take, and how to mobilize and deploy appropriate resources, helps build community capacity to address problems and challenges. Local education funds (LEFs) have helped their communities carry out this process through the following strategic interventions:

  • Community Dialogue
  • Constituency Building
  • Engaging Practitioners
  • Collaborating with Districts
  • Policy Analysis & Agenda Development
  • Legal Strategies
  • Youth Engagement
These interventions are dynamic components of a systematic approach to collective problem solving. Because of their natural overlap, they are not meant to be implemented in isolation. Individually, they represent various ways to engage communities in defining problems and demanding action. Together, they help develop the synergy and momentum needed to create lasting change. This guide describes each intervention and gives examples of how the interventions have been employed in various communities. However, no one group of stakeholders can implement all interventions and no one organization, no matter how well organized or how representative of the community, can create systemic change by itself. LEFs have been both leaders of change and participants in change. This changing role is an important characteristic of the relationships and norms that sustain long-term community change.