Students for Education Reform
Empowering students as stakeholders in the education system by connecting them with tools to advocate for change
Committed to closing the socioeconomic and racial achievement gap in American schools, Students for Education Reform mobilizes college students through campus-based chapters to affect system-level education reforms. Recent high school graduates themselves, these student activists are attuned to the needs, concerns and challenges encountered in today’s classrooms. With passion grounded in principles of social justice and a commitment to high academic expectations, community engagement, skillful leadership and teaching, rigorous standards and assessment, and fiscal accountability, these exceptional undergraduates volunteer their time toward seeing policy, practice and project initiatives realized for maximum impact. Their work affects public opinion, opens dialogue, creates a career pipeline for young education innovators and leaders, and most notably secures legislation at the state level that puts student interest ahead of status quo operational logistics and “old school” perspectives. Students for Education Reform achieves its mission by enlisting the voices most affected by education policy: the students themselves.
115 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
Catharine Bellinger is co-founder and co-executive director of Students for Education Reform (SFER), which began as a student group at Princeton University in 2009 and now has over 100 campus chapters. In her role as co-executive director, Catharine leads the organization’s external communications, expansion, and development. In 2012, she and her cofounder, Alexis Morin, were named two of TIME Magazine's 12 Education Leaders for 2012, and two of Education Week’s Next Generation of Ed Reform Leaders. In 2011, Catharine was hosted at NewSchools Venture Fund as a Summer Fellow to focus on SFER’s business planning and expansion. Previously, she worked for Teach For America, New Leaders, and KIPP DC. In 2008, she taught 9th grade math in Fort Worth, TX, through Breakthrough Collaborative. Catharine is currently on a leave of absence from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School to lead SFER's national growth.
In her role as co-founder and co-executive director of Students for Education Reform, Alexis oversees the organization’s program, management, and operations. Previously, Alexis served as special assistant to Norman Atkins, President of Relay Graduate School of Education, and assisted Paul Bambrick, Managing Director of Uncommon Schools, with special projects. She has worked on the human capital team at DC Public Schools and served on the local school board in Northborough, MA. Alexis is currently taking a leave of absence from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University to work full-time on SFER.
- Founded in 2010
- In its first year of growth, SFER grew to 20 campus chapters in 15 states.
- In its second year of growth and first year with a full-time staff, SFER grew to 110 chapters in 33 states.
- SFER’s chapter leaders ran four state-level issue advocacy campaigns in 2011-2012, successfully passing a comprehensive education reform legislative package in Connecticut, SB 458, in partnership with local advocacy groups, and teacher evaluation reform in New York working in a coalition of education reform groups.
- SFER’s student leaders will run eight state issue advocacy campaigns in 2012-2013.
- In summer 2011, SFER placed 50 members in internships with education reform organizations. In summer 2012, SFER placed over 250 members with high-impact education nonprofits, advocacy groups, charter schools, and school districts.
- In summer 2012, SFER collaborated with Education Reform Now to run a 40-student strong canvass to register charter school parents to vote in Brooklyn and Harlem.