The LEF (local education fund) movement started in the early 1980s, when public schools, particularly in urban areas, were struggling with changing demographics and a need for greater community commitment to public education. These small independent community-based organizations were established to bridge the gap between the community and its schools. Almost twenty years later, the Public Education Network (PEN), the national representative for over 70 LEFs throughout the country, has begun to specify what its unique contribution to education has been and, subsequently, will be in the future. An important part of this work is the development of a research agenda around LEF leadership. This report describes efforts by the Urban Institute and PEN to better understand and describe a leadership model that characterizes the LEF movement.
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