Education Trust Inc

Date of Award



Education, Education



Term of Grant

12 months

Project Title

ESSA Implementation for Equity

Project Description

As state leaders work to implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it’s critical that there be strong voices advocating for equity in every key decision. Yet too many state advocates — even those with impressive track records on other important issues, such as the Common Core State Standards — have little capacity to engage in the complexity of state accountability systems. Moreover, in many places, relationships among the business, civil rights, disability, and education reform organizations that likely have common cause on equity and outcomes-focused accountability systems are nonexistent at best, deeply strained at worst. Recognizing this, The Education Trust, along with the diverse coalition we worked with to successfully advocate for equity provisions in the new law, proposes to 1) increase policy capacity for ESSA implementation in the states; and 2) encourage and help sustain coalitions pushing for strong accountability and public reporting in state policy. We’ll start with a policy R&D hub that will create briefs, tools, and other collateral to inform the policy development process in the states. Housed at the Ed Trust, the R&D hub is a joint project of the nine organizations that worked together on ESEA reauthorization: NCLR, NCLD, the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Leadership Council, DFER, the Migration Policy Institute, COPAA, and the Education Trust. Other organizations, such as the National Urban League, MALDEF, AUCD, and Californians Together will participate as well. We will also use our unusually broad relationships, together with the collateral generated in the R&D work, to support state partners in building diverse coalitions to achieve strong, equity-focused policy both now and for the long term. We will • Directly build and support broad-based coalitions through our California and Michigan offices (and in New York, where we’re working on a new state office); • Provide policy and/or advocacy support to allies in other states as they build broad-based equity-focused coalitions; and • Continue regular meetings of our national partners to support coalition work. And we’ll convene ESSA “Boot Camps,” including advocates in the same states but from different organizations, including business, civil rights, ed reform, and disability groups. We’ll seat them around a table to explore key questions on which they will need, eventually, to have a point of view. We and our partners will facilitate as attendees think through the most important issues, develop shared understanding, and begin real work across organizations. We will also use the collateral — analyses, briefs, tools — developed as part of our policy R&D working groups. ESSA-related policy choices provide a near-perfect opportunity to organize coalitions exploring concrete questions around educational equity that must be answered over a fixed period of time: before July 2017, when state ESSA plans must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. And the need for equity advocacy won’t stop there. It’s our hope and belief that working together on ESSA can form lasting partnerships that will be necessary as more and more decision-making happens at the state level.