Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE)
LEE (www.educationalequity.org) calls itself a "nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Teach for America corps members and alumni to grow as leaders in their communities and help build the movement for educational equity." With funding from various underwriters in the charter and "reform" movement, they provide local "leadership training" for community organizers or candidates, especially for school boards.
Teach for America (TFA)
The primary mission of TFA (www.teachforamerica.org) is to recruit recent college graduates and other professionals to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools; recently, through LEE and other efforts, the organization has focused on involvement with school district administrations (e.g., boards of trustees) and promoting both public and private charter schools.
Austin Kids First (AKF)
AKF (www.austinkidsfirst.org) describes itself as a "local, nonpartisan group of concerned citizens" whose mission is to "find, support, and elect great school board leaders." Although the organization's founders have connections to both the charter school movement and TFA, they insist their only mission is to elect board members who put "kids first." They engage voters both through their members and their political action committee – by far the largest source of campaign funding in the current election cycle.
KIPP Charter Schools
KIPP (www.kipp.org), the "Knowledge Is Power Program," is a national network of public charter schools, founded in Houston in 1995, self-described as "free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools dedicated to preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and life." There are several KIPP Austin schools (www.kippaustin.org), where teachers and students commit to longer instructional hours than in conventional public schools, including some Saturdays and a mandatory summer program. "All students, families, and teachers choose to commit to our rigorous program."