PREP has a multi-faceted innovative structure. PREP provides parents with information about education rights through public workshops and trainings. Volunteer lawyers and advocates offer support and advice to parents through our educational consultation clinics. Our website provides parents and community members with guides on how to advocate for improved education as well as basic information about education laws, policies and procedures. All of these efforts leverage grassroots coalitions, which PREP supports by enhancing community networks and partnerships.
- An Advocacy CatalystExperienced education lawyers from the Lawyers’ Committee provide free workshops and trainings targeting low-income and minority communities. Parents receive information on legal rights, presented in parent-friendly language, and in the language of the community. Trainings also provide a space for parents to develop and practice advocacy skills, so that they can passionately advocate for their children’s education needs.All trainings are done in partnership with local schools and/or community organizations. After PREP catalyzes parent advocacy and engagement in a local area, these on-the-ground organizations are available to support and sustain these advocacy efforts.
- Mass-Mobilizing Legal AdviceWhen parents face complex or entrenched educational barriers, they may find themselves in need of legal support. PREP utilizes its extensive connections with law firms and in-house counsel to provide mobilized legal support. Multiple pro bono lawyers provide free advice for parents helping them to create a detailed action plan and follow-up to ensure that parents continue their self-advocacy efforts.PREP also develops connections with community organizations and law school student groups and clinics with a focus on education rights and advocacy. These volunteers provide additional advocacy support, and are intended to provide localized, sustainable legal support.
- A Resource on Education LawPREP has created education advocacy guides for parents and advocates. Local authorities have primary control over education law. These guides are therefore specifically tailored for all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, with specific guidance focused on the nation’s twenty largest school districts and each state’s largest school district. Parents and community members may use these guides, and other media materials on the PREP website, to know their rights, and advocate for improved education nationwide.In addition, PREP trains teachers, administrators, and legal professionals on education law, focused on issues affecting minorities and low-income students. These technical trainings may prevent problems before they start, and provide guidance to schools on how to implement best practices for civil rights and equal access.
All of these efforts are supported by collaborative partnerships between multiple stakeholders. Private corporations provide leadership and funding for different programs. Law firms provide talented and committed lawyers and pro bono expertise. Community groups connect parents and advocates to PREP trainings, and sustain local efforts. Schools provide resources and support for parent engagement. And most importantly, parents provide the ground-level knowledge, experience, and passion necessary to advocate for their children’s unique needs.
Building off its early experience, and using evaluation data and research-informed best practices, PREP is expanding out of its original pilot site in San Diego into trainings in multiple cities, and in multiple regions of the nation. Yet our original goal remains the same: empower parents to advocate for their child’s educational success.