The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent nonprofit organization that works to connect research with civic voice to bring about unified action in support of universally high-quality public schools for all children in Duval County. We believe that an informed and active citizenry, together with attentive and aligned community leadership, will move our schools forward to prepare students with the skills they need for future success.
Four core strategies form the basis of our work: research, community mobilization, advocacy and strategic investment. Learn more about what we do in this full list of our initiatives. Find out about the history of the organization here.
Inform and mobilize the community to advocate for universally high-quality public schools for all children.
Jacksonville is a community where every child has the opportunity to attend a high-quality public school.
These principles guide our decisions and actions:
Community-Focused. We listen constantly and carefully to the public and community organizations and work to ensure they have the tools they need to ensure all children have access to high-quality public education.
Data-driven and Transparent. We invest in objective research and evaluation, and rely on it to make decisions. We trust in our data, and make it freely available for others to evaluate independently.
Collaborative. We work to connect and collaborate with the school district and community organizations working on behalf of children. We listen to a wide variety of voices in our decision-making.
Inclusive and Respectful. We intentionally work to include diverse voices at the decision-making table. We value the wisdom of each person's unique experience.
Long-term Commitment. We pledge to keep our eyes trained on the ultimate goal of ensuring high-quality public education for all children in Duval County. Our organization is structured and funded with a long-term focus.
Student-Centered. We make decisions first and foremost on what is in the best interest of children in Duval County, with a special focus on students who face barriers to obtaining a high-quality education. We believe all students can achieve at high levels when provided with high-quality instruction and support.
Our board of directors has adopted the following belief statements around key issues in public education.
Value of Public Education in the Community
Universally high-quality public schools are fundamental to our democracy and way of life. Ensuring that every child, regardless of their background or neighborhood, has access to high-quality public education is the primary determinant of our city and country’s safety, economic prosperity, and future success. We believe that an informed, engaged and collaborative community, where excellent public education is a vital and essential issue in the life of our city and community, makes our schools stronger and better.
Historic and ongoing inequities have affected the education of children in Jacksonville, resulting in some children receiving a higher quality education than others. Every child, no matter where they live and regardless of race, income, or any other condition of their birth, must have equal access to a high-quality public school, as well as resources and supports that level the playing field, so that all children can graduate prepared for college and the workforce.
The most important in-school factor in the quality of a student’s education is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. We believe that a key priority in public schools should be to recruit, retain, develop, support, evaluate and empower the best teachers and leaders.
We believe that all students should be held to high standards to ensure that they graduate ready for college and the workforce. The Florida Standards represent a significant advance toward this goal and should be implemented with fidelity and, to the extent possible, progress should be able to be measured against other states.
We believe that Duval County Public Schools uses the limited funds it has efficiently, but needs increased monetary resources and efficiency in their use in order to provide a high- quality education to all children. The district especially faces a challenge in its infrastructure, as many of its buildings are old and in need of replacement or repair, with few funds to meet that burden, and that challenge is one that must be addressed.
Testing and Accountability
Standardized testing and school and staff accountability is necessary to ensure that all students are being fully and equitably educated. We believe that testing should be used to identify areas where students need support and should not overburden instructional time. We believe that school and educator accountability should be based at least partially on student growth and used to reward effectiveness. Accountability models should include multiple performance measures and be understandable and accessible to parents and community members. Where major changes are made, we believe adequate time should be allotted for all stakeholders to understand and adapt to changes.
Whole Child Education
Every child should be educated from a holistic perspective, recognizing that physical, emotional and social components are key to academic success and fulfillment in life.
We believe that students and their families should be able to learn about and choose from a variety of high-quality public education options, including magnet programs, career academies and charter schools. Traditional public schools and these other options should be allowed to compete fairly, under equivalent funding and regulatory conditions.
Role of Technology
In this 21st Century world, technology must play a key role in instruction, helping engage and personalize education for students. We must move quickly to a time when all students and teachers are given digital devices and all teachers are trained and expected to use them daily in order to give students the skills to be successful in a technology-driven future. At a time of significant investment in technology in Duval County Public Schools, we believe the district must be vigilant in ensuring that it is distributed equitably across schools, implemented thoughtfully and regularly updated to ensure the biggest impact on student learning.