iOS app Android app

Martin J. Blank
GET UPDATES FROM Martin J. Blank
Martin J. Blank is the President of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, DC. He leads IEL in its efforts to build the capacity of people, organizations and systems -- in education and related fields -- to cross boundaries and work together to attain better results for children and youth. Marty has been associated with IEL since 1985, focusing his work on building bridges between schools and other institutions with assets that can support student success.

Marty also serves as the Director of the Coalition for Community Schools, which is staffed by the Institute for Educational Leadership. The Coalition is an alliance that brings together leaders and organizations in education, family support, youth development, early childhood, community development, government and philanthropy. Partners advocate for schools as centers of their communities where school and community resources are organized to support student success, strengthen families and build healthier communities.

Marty is the co-author of Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools and Together We Can: A Guide for Crafting a Pro-family System of Education and Human Services. He was Project Director for the preparation of Learning Together, a comprehensive map of the revitalized community schools movement across the country.

Marty stays involved with local activities in the District of Columbia. He is the former Chair of D.C. VOICE an education reform collaborative and of the Management Team of the Early Childhood Collaborative.

He has a B.A. from Columbia University, 1965, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and served as a VISTA Volunteer in the Missouri Bootheel.

Entries by Martin J. Blank

An Emergent Approach to School-Community-Family Partnerships

(2) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 4:08 PM

The recent article on Strategic Philanthropy for A Complex World explored the idea of an "emergent approach to philanthropy." It evoked several thoughts about the work to connect family, school, and community to help young people succeed that my colleagues and I have been doing for nearly 25 years.

...
Read Post

Navigating the Culture of Schools and Communities

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 3:08 PM

Brooke Troutman, a Northwestern University intern with the Coalition for Community Schools, at the Institute for Educational Leadership, contributed to this blog.

I attended the Promise Neighborhoods National Network Conference recently, and one issue struck me as particularly noteworthy. As Director of the Coalition for Community Schools,...

Read Post

Opportunity for All Demands All of Us

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 12:17 PM

Contributors: Kwesi Rollins, Director, Leadership Programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership and Reuben Jacobson, Senior Research Associate at the Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership.

President Obama's announcement of a signature initiative to help young men of color succeed will bring national focus to the many deep...

Read Post

Community School Collaborations--A Lifeline for Early Learning Program Success

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 12:05 PM

Guest Bloggers: Janet Brown, Senior Early Childhood Program Specialist and Kwesi Rollins, Director of Leadership Programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership

In Lifelines for Poor Children, economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman argues that quality early learning programs represent our best national education investment due to evidence of societal...

Read Post

Community-Centered Schools: A Challenge and Opportunity for Teach For America

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 11:03 AM

This is a guest post from my colleague Mary Kingston, Public Policy Manager of the Coalition for Community Schools and TFA Alumnae.

There are few things that we can do better alone than together, and education is no exception. Today, teachers often feel alone in trying to simultaneously provide their...

Read Post

Connecting the Dots: Inequality and Education and the Need for Community

(1) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 3:51 PM

As we Race to the Top and offer states "flexibility" on NCLB, evidence continues to mount that our efforts to improve educational outcomes are focused on the wrong problem. Rather than making public education the Great Equalizer that it was among people now ages 55-64, who still lead the world...

Read Post

Early Learning Is Everyone's Business

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 4:02 PM

As I travel across the country to talk with school and community leaders about the importance of community schools, part of the conversation is always about whether children are ready to learn when they enter school. People want to know how schools are working with early childhood programs to achieve...

Read Post

Organizing and Partnering for School Change in East Los Angeles

(2) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 7:47 AM

For more than 80 years, no new school was built in East Los Angeles. In the past several years, the efforts of a community organizing group, a dedicated group of teachers, an array of community partners, the students, and the parents converged to demand change -- and to make it...

Read Post

Student Advocacy: A Sharper Picture

(1) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 10:09 AM

During a recent trip to California, I learned what student advocacy really means at John C. Fremont High School in South Los Angeles. I saw first-hand what can happen when adults in schools, families, and the community, work together with young people to create the opportunity for them to thrive....

Read Post

Beyond Chicago

(1) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 12:18 PM

I spent several days of the Chicago strike week 300 miles to the southeast, in Cincinnati, a city of some 350,000. Although it faces most of the same challenges as its bigger neighbor, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) and its many public and private partners are further ahead in addressing the...

Read Post

Lessons From Arne Duncan's Back-to-School Bus Tour

(3) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 11:34 AM

As Secretary Arne Duncan travels the country on his Back-to-School bus tour, he has refocused his attention on the community schools strategy as a vehicle for implementing a Broader Bolder Approach to Education. Speaking in Kansas City, he described our public schools as community...

Read Post

Giving Our Children an Equal Opportunity to Succeed

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2012 | 10:52 AM

This is a challenging time to be young and poor in the United States.

The new global economy demands that our young people master 21st century skills and have the technical know-how by the time they graduate. And yet, many of our children will have completed the K-12 public...

Read Post

Some Kids Need More to Get the Same Result

(4) Comments | Posted August 1, 2012 | 2:03 PM

I recently heard a story that explains why the community schools model -- a reform approach I've been touting for about twenty years now -- is so effective at helping children succeed in the classroom.

The story is about a small school district in northern California called San Rafael City...

Read Post

Bold Leaders for Our Public Schools

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 11:18 AM

Strong leaders are key to building strong and innovative schools, and so I want to share some insights about the tremendous people who are leading the community schools movement. I'm talking about people like John Porter, Jan Christensen, and Richard Carranza, all superintendents and, all of whom are working to...

Read Post

All Hands on Deck for Community Schools

(2) Comments | Posted May 2, 2012 | 11:00 AM

Last week, Rebecca Mieliwocki spoke at the White House after being honored by President Obama with the National Teacher of the Year award. The seventh grade English teacher from the racially and economically diverse Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, California made clear that "commitment to...

Read Post

Education Is a 'Both-And' Issue

(5) Comments | Posted March 23, 2012 | 9:56 AM

"We tend to put considerations of family, community, and economy off-limits in education-reform policy... at our peril," a phrase from Paul Barton at Educational Testing Services (ETS), was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read Paul Peterson's recent Education Next piece. Then...

Read Post

Improving the Conditions for Teaching and Learning

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 6:59 PM

The headline from the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher warns education policymakers and leaders in our schools and communities that teachers are increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs. Teachers with low job satisfaction rates feel they don't get support, that they work in isolation, and have less...

Read Post

Thinking Outside the Box to Boost Teacher Effectiveness

(5) Comments | Posted February 16, 2012 | 7:59 AM

Ask any parent, or for that matter, any student -- they've always known that good teachers are better than bad ones. And those of us lucky enough to have had one or two can remember the long-term impact of a really great teacher. Recent research, however, gives us a more...

Read Post

Community Schools: Proving That 'Collective Impact' Works

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2011 | 5:43 PM

There comes a time when many fine examples of how to improve learning and life conditions for our children and young people hits a ceiling. They cannot get to scale, because as exemplary as they may be, they have an "isolated impact" on the issues. While collaboration may be part...

Read Post

The Right To Read

(2) Comments | Posted July 19, 2011 | 10:58 AM

It is almost a nightly ritual now -- the airways filled with scenes of angry, demanding and sometimes victorious crowds wanting change to happen. I missed one of the most hopeful demonstrations, however. Recently, while visiting Cape Town, South Africa, the former education adviser for the South African Bank told...

Read Post