The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) is dedicated to teaching parents, students, and educators concrete organizing techniques that they need to confront education policies that fail to account for the educational needs of low-income and minority students. Working through school-based networks, we build teams of well-trained advocates. We use these teams to educate policymakers and to push for a variety of policy changes including: increased per-pupil expenditures, decreased reliance on standardized testing, teacher evaluations based on student growth models, anti-racist suspension policies, restorative justice programs, and holistic support services (including school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses, as well as robust ESL and special education programs).
In training our constituents, we point to the chronic underfunding of public schools as part of a push to deem public schools “failures,” in order to justify the privatization of public resources and in order to impose market-based approaches to school governance. We know that students are best served by well-funded schools that are rooted in communities, that take leadership from educators and parents, and which are focused on student growth. The challenges that our schools face are deep and they relate strongly to the effects of poverty and racism in our communities.
CAPE was founded in 2015, growing out of projects started by the Durham Council of PTAs and Organize 2020, a statewide caucus of public school educators committed to social, racial, and economic justice. Having grown beyond our initial project, CAPE is now organized as a member of the Southern Vision Alliance, a 501(c)(3) grassroots intermediary organized for the charitable and educational purposes of providing infrastructure, capacity-building, and assistance to youth-centered organizations and programs.