Students For Education Reform Beliefs and Principles



High Expectations,
High Supports

Every child can learn and achieve at a high level.


Excellent Teachers

We believe in the power of great leaders in the classroom to inspire the next generation.


Serving Every Child

A high quality public education system must reach every child.


Justice in Schools

Students deserve to learn in a positive school climate that does not criminalize them.

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Quality Choices

We believe that all parents and students have the right to quality school choices.

  1. >>> Use your arrow keys or swipe to see a history of schools

    The First “Public” Schools

    Through the 18th Century

    Colonists began to establish public schools in the early 1600s beginning with Boston Latin School in 1635. Up until the American Revolution, other colonies began to partially fund public grammar schools, but they weren’t available to everyone.

    These schools served only men, and black people were excluded from any public systems in the North, and still enslaved in the South.

  2. Abolition of Slavery and Reconstruction

    1863 to about 1880

    Black people were not allowed to attend public schools with white students, and in most cases there weren’t any black schools getting public funding. Newly freed slaves and the black community took it upon themselves to educate their next generation. They began to use churches and refurbished old buildings to hold classes, often taught by other blacks people who could barely read themselves.

    The Freedmen’s Bureau in the South helped establish one of the first freedmen’s school, the Chimborazo School, established in Richmond in 1865.

  3. "Redemption"


    The period after Reconstruction was referred to by some in the south as “Redemption.” Redemption for whites in the south, brought a bleak period for equity and Civil Rights. Through the 80’s and 90’s the school systems were completely separate and definitely unequal.

    In 1883 the Supreme Court overturned the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which banned discrimination in public places. Segregation was completely legal and no more apparent than in the schools.

  4. Plessy vs. Ferguson

    May 18th, 1896

    This monumental court case affirmed that “separate, but equal” schools was constitutional. The irony here is that schools were separate for black people and white people AND unequal in almost every way. Black schools had less public funding, less qualified teaching staff, and older (or not enough) textbooks.

  5. Brown vs Board and Integration

    May 17th, 1954

    In 1954 the Supreme Court overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson and stated that separate and equal is not constitutional.Forced integration followed, many districts (particularly in the south) refused integration, and some in the North made little effort because their segregation was not required by law. Schools slowly began to diversify and many white families fled to suburbs to escape the “poorer and blacker” schools.

  6. Civil Rights and the ESEA

    The 1960s

    In early 1964, fewer than 20 percent of districts in the South had begun to desegregate (Orfield 1969). With passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 we start to see the Federal government intervening in schools that serve low income kids. The ESEA provided federal funds (over 1 billion dollars annually) to low schools with large low income student populations.

  7. A Nation at Risk


    This report commissioned under the Reagan Administration highlighted the drastic underperformance of our nation’s schools and called attention to the threat of lost international competitiveness. This marks the first instance of recommending “rigorous and measurable standards.” This marked the beginning of the push for standardized curriculum, annual testing, and the expansion of public charter schools as educational alternatives.

  8. Charter Movement Expands

    1991 to the Present

    Although the history of folks exercising choice in schools had been long established, the “charter school” idea burst onto the scene in 1991 as a new avenue to realize educational options. To date the charter school sector has grown to serve over 3 million students, 6% of the entire school population. While it would be foolish to say all charters are serving the most at-risk kids and doing it well, we can’t ignore that the most game-changing work for students of color is happening in high quality public charters.

  9. No Child Left Behind

    December 10th, 2001

    No Child Left Behind was a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that tracked performance and provided intervention for schools that weren’t serving kids well. This was the first time states were required to report data by race, disability, and other important subgroups, which revealed to parents and advocates a more accurate picture of how students were doing.

  10. Every Student Succeeds Act

    January 19th, 2015

    The Every Student Succeeds Act really scales back Federal involvement in education after the perceived heavy-handedness of NCLB. The ESSA gives states more flexibility in addressing their low performing schools. Advocates are focusing on equity to ensure that the most vulnerable students are protected by the new law.