Impact Report 2014 -2017 | SFER

2014 - 2017 Impact Report

Students For Education Reform

Alexis Morin, Executive Director

Young people have a deep sense of whether the public schools they sat in from kindergarten through 12th grade prepared them for opportunity, choices, and college. SFER members saw and experienced injustice in our K-12 schools. Far too many students graduated high school with diplomas that do not correlate with college opportunity. Too many students experienced discrimination and discouragement in public schools.

Why College Students?

College students can be the catalyst to end educational inequity. We’re the most recent beneficiaries of the public education system, and we represent the idealism and urgency that’s put young people at the center of every successful social movement.

organizer at students for ed reform
organizer at students for ed reform
organizer at students for ed reform

“Graduates of inner cities, as resilient products from a broken system, now it is our turn to come back to our community and improve it. Although my hometown has one of the lowest graduation rates, highest crime rates, and highest rates of poverty, it made me the person I am today; it is my home. I refuse to wait around for someone else to take action.” -Desiree Martinez, UCLA

Our Power Comes from our People


SFER adds staff
SFER is First Gen
SFER's Growing Alumni Base
80% of our members come from working families
SFER's on 93 Campuses
Half our Members ID as POC

By training student organizers who take action to advance education reform in their communities, we conduct mobilization campaigns in cities, influence media reporting, and canvass thousands of low-income residents to pass district and city-wide education reform policies.

This work is happening across six cities.

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Richmond, CA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO

Our Impact

Members take risks for the sake of improving public education. We testify to public officials, sharing our stories of triumph and our vulnerable struggles so that leaders will understand how students are experiencing public schools. SFER members run public actions to defy business as usual. We have conversations with neighbors about the conditions of our schools and how to fight for better public schools. SFER members are growing the movement for educational justice by taking action.

SFER media hits

Changing District and State policy in line with our vision for educational equity leading to:

  • New superintendents in urban districts who align with our beliefs
  • Making high quality schools more accessible to low-income students
  • Holding districts that do not prepare their students for college accountable by ending policies that punish students who need remediation
  • Standing up for immigrant students who have been targeted for deportation while trying to go to school

Case Study: Reimagine Remedial

Minnesota students lobbied for four years to transform how the state’s higher education system treats students who weren’t prepared for college by their k-12 schools. The campaign started as an idea when meeting with Senator Torres Ray at Macalester College in 2013 and developed into legislation that required colleges and universities to develop a plan to reduce the financial burden of remedial courses. From that discussion, to our first meeting with Higher Education Committee Chairs, dozens of students testified, shared their story in the media, and collected petition signatures on campuses. We had to face strong, powerful foes. We had to learn how to talk to all parties and stakeholders. In June, Governor Dayton signed the Higher Education Omnibus Bill which included language that seriously addresses the issue of remedial education across the Minnesota State system. Additionally, school districts are now required to report directly to the legislature on how many students they send into remedial courses. This is a big win for students because our leaders are finally finding solutions to the barriers that prevent students from completing college.

SFER Reimagine Remedial

Undeniable Personal Stories

Students, whose undeniable voices and lived experiences are compelling reasons to make solutions a reality, are a source of power. We believe organizing is about stories. As students, we build power from our voices and stories in the policy sphere. We approach our work with independent, critical thought and always speak from personal experience.

Desiree Martinez, UCLA

"As the first in my family to graduate from college, graduating from UCLA with a major in Sociology and a minor in Education Studies is beyond exciting. SFER showed me the power of grassroots movements in the battle to fight big systemic inequities. My college chapter taught me the power of grassroots movements in the battle to fight big systemic inequities. My college chapter taught me the power of resilience. I’m proud of my SFER UCLA family and can’t wait to see all the amazing work I know they will accomplish next year. I plan to continue combating institutionalized inequalities."
SFER UCLA Desiree Martinez

CEO & Co-Founder of Teach for All Wendy Kopp mentions SFER in long-term Los Angeles education impact —

Wendy Kopp
"It makes a huge difference when the people most impacted by the inequities (e.g., the parents organized by Parent Revolution and Green Dot, the students who comprise SFER) are at the center of the collective leadership we’re building. We’ve seen through...the instrumental role SFER played in the recent election, that this community leadership brings unflagging persistence and determination, accountability to students and parents, and moral authority. The last three decades in L.A. have shown that we need everyone in this fight, but that it’s crucial that students and families lead the change."

SFER Staff Represent the Diversity of Our Base

57% POC
1 of 7
SFER Staff


SFER’s staff has grown steadily, and SFER has staffed states as they mature:


Our local staff are expert organizers, many of whom are alumni.

Kayla Romero, Managing Director of Organizing, North Carolina

Kenneth Eban, Managing Director of Organizing, Minnesota

Looking Ahead

Over the next three years, we will focus on engaging our base more deeply, inspiring and preparing them to take bold public action; creating school board leadership that ensures the conditions for reform; and working through grassroots community organizing to pass city and school district policies that put kids first and boost student achievement.

deeper impact
SFER FY18 Goals
SFER college students

Thank You To Our Supporters


($1M and above)


Arthur Rock & Toni Rembe

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Walton Family Foundation

William K. Bowes Jr. Foundation


($300,000 - $999,999)

Adam Cioth & Beth Cobert

Bouncer Foundation

Bush Foundation

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

John & Regina Scully Foundation

Joyce Foundation

Minneapolis Foundation

The Eli and Edyth Broad Foundation


($100,000 - $299,999)

Bruce Rauner

Chamberlin Family Foundation

CityBridge Foundation

The Late Dave Goldberg & Sheryl Sandberg

John & Denise Graves Foundation

McKnight Foundation

Minnesota Comeback

Olson Foundation

Rebecca & Charles Ledley

WEM Foundation


($50,000 - $99,999)


Brian & Stephanie Spector

Carlson Family Foundation

Fisher Fund

Jason Fish & Courtney Benoist

John Petry

Myerson Wagner Family Charitable Fund

Newark Charter School Fund

New Schools Venture Fund

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children

Stanley Hubbard

Steve Cohen

Stuart Cobert & Marcy Engel

Whitney Foundation


($10,000 - $49,999)

Alliance for a Better Community

Ambassador Frank Baxter

Bodman Foundation

The Margaret and Daniel Loeb – Third Point Foundation

David & Cathy Habib

Diana Nelson & John Atwater

Douglass Brandenborg Family Foundation

F.R. Bigelow Foundation

Frey Foundation

Irene Scully Foundation

Jay and Rose Phillips Foundation

Jennifer Moses and Ron Beller

John and Stephanie Cozzi

Kathy Surace Smith & Brad Smith

Ron Nahas

Piper Family Fund

San Francisco Foundation

Smikis Foundation

Tim Welsh

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation


($1,000 - $9,999)

Amiad Kushner

Anschutz Foundation

April Chou & Peter Belden

Ben Whitney

Cynthia King Vance & Lee Vance

David & Peggy Tanner

Dawn Bellinger

Heidi & Richard Landers

James M. Kennedy

John Frank & Delia Jampel

Julie & Andrew Klingenstein

Justin Cohen & Eleanor van den Heuvel

Katherine & David Bradley

Lenny Mendoca

Mark & Jayne Battey

Michael Carter

Mortenson Family Foundation

Nancy Poon

National Christian Foundation

Paul Gaffney

Saint Paul Foundation

Shavar Jeffries

Soran Foundation

Sue Lehman

William Graves


($500 - $9,999)

Aditya Naik

Alexandra Conway

Andy & Molly Hill

Dave Howard & Dale Schomer

David Forsyth

Gilbert Romero

Jesse & Pamela Baker

Kevin Huang

Lisa Pawel

Maryellen Butke

Meg Ansara

Russell C. Welch & Brenda K. Andrewson

Sandra Vargas

Walter Isaacson

Whitney Tilson


($50 - $499)

Akil Hollis

Alfred Morin

Amber & Eric Hanson

Amy Hertel Buckley

Ann Gerber

Bindu Eban

Chris Nicholson

Christopher Macklem

Dana Mortenson

David O’Fallon

Elizabeth Finch

Elyse Dashew

Greta Henderson

James Blew

James Schorr

Jeffrey Garoon

Jim & Julia Bartholomew

Jonathan M. Siegel

Jonathan Rubenstein

Joseph & Jo Ann Nathan

Karim Abouelnaga

Karin Kyte

Kelly Amis

KK Apple

Lancelot Matthiese

Leonard Poirier

Lily Alberts

Lou Hoeschen

Madaline Edison

Mariam Tisdale

Matthew Libby

Meg Judy

Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Paul Wojcik

Rebecca Erdahl

Results in Education Foundation

Reynolds-Anthony Harris

Ryan Irwin

Sheila Sarem

Zach Padellford

($1 - $49)

Adam Sapp

Aditi Patil

Alex Piasecki

Alexa Marchbanks

Allison Choi

Allison Welch

Alvin Abraham

Amal Sharif

Amazon Smile Foundation

Ambriana Wade

Angelina Sanchez

Anne Campbell

Anta NjieBarry Suiter

Bella Hernandez

Benjamin Martin

Benjamin Meyer

Brandon Terrell

Brian Dockendorf

Bryan Walker

Carolina Reinoso

Cesaltina Barros

Chelby Gill

Cindy Contreras

Cj Parker

Claire Bradach

Clark Joseph

Clausell Stokes

Daniel Sellers

Daniela Felix-Trejo

Daven Vellido

Deidra Zavala Rojas

Eduardo Martinez

Elaine Chen

Enma Batres

Erin Johnson

Fadumo Yusuf

Flora Hong

Garrett Bucks

Hajar Saksaka

Hannah Dean

Jaimee Kidd

James Schuster

Jasmine Leggett

Jason Terrell

Jay Belmonarch

Jazmin Olave

Jennifer Valdivia

Jeremy Paul

Jerod Bottolfson

Jordan Ward

Joseph Staruski

Joshua Ibarra

Julia D’Errico

Julian Smith-Sparks

Karen Montufar-Federico

Katherine Elchert

Kevin Kramer

Kevin Poirer

Kevin Quintero

Khulia Pringle

Kiran Magee

Kristina Colon

Lisbet Martinez

Logan Holmes

Louis Garcia

Luis Ledesma

Lynn & Marilyn Padellford

Mackenzie Wilkins

Maddie Orenstein

Madelyn Rahn

Maria Hurgara

Maria Khoudary

Mariah Jukes

Marvin Francois

Matt Menke

Miya Howard

Monica Ortiz

Nataly Sanchez

Nick Strenke

Nicolas Santiago

Nicole Marcus

Noam Shemer

Patrick Mateer

Rana Thabata

Rula Thabata

Ryan Tessman

Sam Margo

Sara Liang

Sarah Aoanan

Sayra Sanchez

Sharon Martinez

Sylvia Jeannette Villanueva

Tenicka Boyd

Terry Wong

Thomaiyah Reeves

Tiffni Flynn Forslund

Veronica Ledesma

Wallace Weaver

William Raymond

Willie B. Younger

Zach Padellford