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New & Noteworthy

News and Stories from Stone, its Grantees, and the Issues it invests in.
Gov. Josh Shapiro signs the Pennsylvania state budget into law in August 2023. In his new budget proposal, Shapiro is seeking $1.1 billion in additional basic education funding. (Courtesy of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s office)

Record-setting increase in public school funding proposed by Pennsylvania governor

February 6, 2024
Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed a 2024-25 budget Tuesday that increases basic education funding by $1.1 billion, which would be the largest single-year increase ever. Most of that money, $900 million, would be funneled through a so-called adequacy formula that calculates what every district actually requires to educate all their children to high standards, based on students’ needs.
Adam Hopfner of the Yale School of Architecture tours a two-family home on Howard Street in New Haven. The home will house teachers at the Friends Center for Children and their families.

New Haven teachers cash in on rent-free housing

August 14, 2023
A New Haven early childcare center is expanding a program providing free homes for teachers and their families. Friends Center for Children began the Teacher Housing Initiative in 2021. With the planned completion of a newly constructed home set for the fall, the center will provide housing for six of its teachers. The program is specifically designed to ease the financial burden some educators face, Friends Center Executive Director Allyx Schiavone said. Ninety-seven percent of educators teaching children under the age of five are women and mostly people of color.
Male teacher supporting two students.

How do we address the educator shortage in Illinois? We have the powerful tools to do so.

January 12, 2024
When discussing the educator workforce shortages in Illinois, it is evident that the challenges our education system faces are complex. Reporter Shanzeh Ahmad’s recent article in the Tribune highlights the persistent, critical shortage of educators in special education and bilingual classes and sheds light on the disparate impact these shortages have on particular student populations. We must address this issue with urgency.

Building Political Power When Everything Is at Stake

November 20, 2023
Our organizations, The Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing and The Hyams Foundation, are movement funders that share a common set of assumptions about the nature of power and the role that progressive philanthropy must play in defending democracy. As women of color and leaders of movement foundations, we are preoccupied with the question: What role should progressive philanthropy play in responding to the rise of repressive, authoritarian policies that threaten the lives and well-being of the communities we are accountable to?
With the Manhattan skyline in the background as the sun set during a heat wave on July 24, 2022, children cooled off by playing in a fountain in Domino Park, Brooklyn, a borough of New York City. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Little Kids Need Outdoor Play--But Not When It's 110 Degrees

October 18, 2023
Stone provided funding for the Early Years Climate Action Task Force. Dora Ramos is a family child care provider in Stamford, Connecticut, where the temperature climbed above 90 degrees for a few days in July. She takes care of children in her home, which has a large backyard, and was able to adapt, still getting the children outside, even on the hottest days. “Our parents bring the children at 7:10 a.m., so we bring them outside very early — first thing,” she said. “We have sprinklers; they use the hose to fill up pots with water and ‘cook.’” But in Dallas, where the high hit 110 degrees on August 18, it wasn’t safe or possible to play outside for weeks-long stretches this summer, said Cori Berg, the director of Hope Day School, a preschool there. “It was cranky weather for sure,” she said. “What most people don’t really think about is what it’s like for a child in a center. They’re cooped up in one room for hours and hours and hours.”
Students walk the hallway at Lake View High School in Chicago

Is Chicago’s shift to restorative justice and fewer school police working? Some say yes.

September 28, 2023
Youth organizer Maria Paula Degillo used to protest in downtown Chicago against the high rates of suspensions and expulsions for students of color. Now, she collaborates with Chicago Public Schools to create safe school environments without harsh discipline and over policing. Today, Degillo, with the group Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, is joining the district’s Chief of Safety and Security Jadine Chou at a City Club of Chicago event to highlight the partnership forged between the district and community organizations over the course of the last decade to improve school safety.

Federal funding for child care is about to fall off a cliff. Why that’s a disaster

September 26, 2023
On Saturday, $39 billion in federal child-care funds made available through the American Rescue Plan Act are set to expire. As a result, close to 3.2 million children could lose their spots in early education programs. Congress can solve this problem. So far, however, it has declined to do so, starting with deciding not to pass the Build Back Better provisions in 2022 that would have made child-care funding permanent.