National Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC)
The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) challenges the systemic problem of pushout in our nation's schools and advocates for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The DSC unites parents, youth, advocates and educators to support alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment and removal in our schools. As a Core Group member, NESRI works with the DSC to organize national advocacy campaigns and actions, and to share strategies and best practices through conferences, webinars and the Campaign's on-line resource database.
Model School Code and Moratorium
NESRI participates in national actions with the DSC to raise awareness of the pushout crisis in our nation’s schools and advocate for positive solutions that guarantee the human right of every student to a quality education and to be treated with dignity.
The Model Code on Education and Dignity presents a set of recommended policies to schools, districts, and legislators to help end school pushout and protect the human rights to education, dignity, participation and freedom from discrimination. The code is the culmination of several years of research and dialogue with students, parents, educators, advocates and researchers who came together to envision a school system that supports all children and young people in reaching their full potential.
The Model Code is organized into five chapters:
4) Freedom from Discrimination, and
5) Data, Monitoring and Accountability.
Each of these chapters addresses a different key component of providing a high quality education and reflects core human rights principles and values. Each chapter includes recommended policies for states, districts and schools.
Solutions Not Suspensions is a call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions. Over 3 million students are suspended out of school each year contributing to pushout across the country. To implement this moratorium, Solutions Not Suspensions, a grassroots initiative of students, educators, parents, and community leaders, is calling on states and districts to support teachers and schools in dealing with discipline in positive ways - keeping students in the classroom and helping educators work with students and parents to create safe and engaging classrooms that protect human rights to education and dignity.
Federal, State and Local Advocacy
NESRI participates in Working Groups and projects of the DSC aimed at creating state and federal policy change to reverse zero-tolerance discipline and promote positive approaches to school climate.
Model Discipline Code – The Model Code Working Group is a space for organizers, advocates and educators working for local and state policy change. The DSC released the “Model Code on Education and Dignity” in August 2012, a set of recommended policies and practices for states, districts and schools to end pushout and zero-tolerance discipline policies. The Model Code was developed by the Working Group based on the best practices and interventions identified through the experiences of communities, parents, youth and educators. The Working Group will continue to meet to plan for the rollout and implementation of the Model Code, including how to support local member groups in training others about the Code and using it in their local campaigns.
Local/State Working Group – The Local/State Working Group is a space for organizers, students, parents, advocates and educators working for local and state policy change to end school pushout. The goals of the working group are to support and connect local organizing campaigns around pushout, and connect local campaigns to federal legislative work on pushout, especially ESEA NCLB reauthorization.
Solutions, Not Suspensions – The Moratorium Strategy call is an ongoing meeting with DSC members and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign, out major partner in the call for a nationwide moratorium on out-of-school suspensions. On these calls we strategize together and develop our campaigns (both the national call and the local-level campaigns pushing for implementation in specific schools and districts).
National Week of Action – The 3rd Annual National Week of Action on School Pushout took place during the week of September 29 to October 6, 2012. This year's theme was "Pushout Rates Are Scary: Over 3 Million Students Are Suspended Out-of-School Each Year." Throughout the week, thousands of parents, students, educators and education advocates took part in parent and student-led actions and events around the country to expose the school pushout crisis and advocate for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity.
NESRI helps coordinate networking opportunities for DSC members to share strategies and best practices.
DSC Website – The website includes a database of resources on human rights, school pushout and positive alternatives, as well as links to Know Your Rights materials and other resources tailored for youth, parents and educators in order to build alliances for combating pushout.
Tele-Conference Call Series – The DSC organizes national tele-conference calls and webinars to engage multiple stakeholders from around the country in discussion and debate about pushout and to develop strategies for working together.
Annual Meeting – We hold one in-person Membership Meeting per year where we gather as many DSC members as possible for a several day meeting. We offer travel scholarships to a number of groups to ensure maximum attendance. Watch videos and access materials from the 2011 conference.
NESRI works with the DSC to engage international human rights mechanisms as a tool for bringing attention to the pushout crisis in the U.S. and holding policy-makers accountable for human rights obligations. NESRI has prepared shadow reports for treaty-monitoring bodies and submissions to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education. In November 2008, several DSC members provided testimony at the UN Forum on Minorities in Education in Geneva, Switzerland. Read the testimony from CADRE, NESRI’s partner organization.
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