Ed Trust’s Work: Quarterly Updates

All students — regardless of their skin color, families’ income, language spoken at home, or how they identify — should have access to high-quality learning opportunities that allow them to achieve educational excellence. This is education equity.

Through our research, policy analysis, and advocacy, Ed Trust support efforts that:

  • Promote rich, engaging high-quality learning opportunities
  • Increase college access and completion
  • Engage diverse communities to advocate for education equity
  • Increase political and public will to act on equity issues

Our approach to this work is informed by our theory of change, which includes four main components that aim to advance positive outcomes that improve the lives of those who are underserved, including Black students, Latino students, and students from low-income backgrounds.

In these quarterly reports, we showcase the work that Ed Trust, along with our partners, is doing.

Theory of Change

The Education Trust advances policies and practices to dismantle the racial and economic barriers embedded in the American Education system

Sow, Nurture, Thrive: Cultivating a Supportive and Inclusive School Environment from Pre-K to College

October 2023

Sow, Nurture, Thrive

Our theme for this quarterly report highlights EdTrust’s recent advocacy work over the last three months to sound the alarm about how contentious political rhetoric affects schools and hurts students, particularly students of color and students from under-resourced communities.

Attacks on honest teaching, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs and books about race and gender identity are undermining education and turning classrooms, which should be supportive or inclusive places, into hostile environments. Conflicts over social-emotional learning and race in the curriculum are negatively impacting students’ academic growth, mental health, and well-being. Rates of depression, thoughts of suicide, and suicide attempts among students are at historic levels.

During the last three months, we have mobilized teachers, students, parents and families, and community members to advocate for culturally affirming learning environments that reflect the students and communities they serve.

As we continue to expand this equity movement, we will keep working to build connections and empathy in this polarized time, so that we can create positive and welcoming school environments in which all students can achieve at the highest level and thrive.

Highlights of Our Latest Work

Reports and Briefs

Report: The Search for More Complex Racial and Ethnic Representation in Grade School Books

Online Tool: Tool for Representational Balance in Books

Report: ’Segregation Forever?’: The Continued Underrepresentation of Black Undergraduates at the Nation’s 122 Most Selective Private Colleges and Universities

Digital Report: Creating Positive College Campus Racial Climates for Students of Color

Brief: How Mental Health Supports Impact Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD)

Brief: Watch Out for the Fiscal Cliff: Advocating for Education Equity as ESSER Spending Winds Down

In the Media

EdTrust’s work was featured in numerous media outlets including Good Morning America, The Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution,  District Administration, Education Week, Fox 5 in Washington, DC, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, The Grio, and Politico.

For more media coverage, see our In the News section

On the Blog

We published a blog series on Affirmative Action authored by various higher education experts

Social Media

We held a Twitter Space on Banned Books Week

EdTrust staffers, along with staffers from various partner organizations, participated in several protests on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court


Ed Trust held several webinars including:

State Offices

EdTrust – West

New cohorts of EdTrust–West’s signature fellowship and advisory council programs continued efforts to build a pipeline of powerful equity-minded individuals working for sustained policy change and racial equity in education. Ed Trust–West is also rolling out a strategic plan that will guide the organization’s work and partnerships for 2023-2026.

The annual California legislative cycle wrapped up in October and included big wins for California students. Six of the eight legislative proposals Ed Trust—West identified as part of the “Equity 8” (proposals with the most potential to advance educational equity and justice) were adopted in the budget or signed into law this year.

Visit the EdTrust – West website

EdTrust – Midwest

After years of sustained advocacy, Ed Trust–Midwest  and the Michigan Partnership for Equity Opportunity coalition (MPEO) scored a historic systemic school funding win for Michigan’s students that will greatly benefit students who are the most underserved, including students from low-income backgrounds, English learners, and students with disabilities. Michigan is now among the nation’s first 10 states to include an index for concentrations of poverty in its state school funding formula.

Visit the EdTrust – Midwest website

EdTrust – New York

In June, EdTrustNY published “A Call to Action: The State of Early Literacy in Monroe County,” which is a follow-up to our statewide report on early literacy. This new report shows that Monroe County’s early literacy crisis is driven by a combination of low expectations for students, unstable leadership, and the use of non-evidence-based instructional materials and practices that are ultimately denying students the right to read.

This summer, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed S5327A/A4986A, which removes the requirement that parents work a minimum number of hours to qualify for childcare subsidies, thereby expanding access to care and increasing equity. Members of Raising NY, a statewide coalition convened by EdTrust–NY, pushed for this change by meeting with decision-makers; submitting testimony, sign-on letters, and memorandums of support; and issuing statements of support for the legislation on social media. The coalition will continue working until Gov. Kathy Hochul signs the bill.

Visit the EdTrust – New York Website

EdTrust – Tennessee

The Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (TECA) envisions a future in which the diversity of Tennessee educators reflects the diversity of students across the state. Since 2020, EdTrust-Tennessee has partnered with TECA to increase educator diversity in the state by ensuring that every student has access to skilled, well-resourced teachers, leaders, and staff who reflect the state’s racial and linguistic diversity. This year, they honored EdTrustTN with the “Community Partner of Excellence” award.

EdTrustTN also introduced “Policy and Community,” a webinar speaker series that connects current education policy issues with advocates across the state.

Visit the EdTrust – Tennessee website

In the States


Since the end of the regular legislative session in May, the Texas team has been working to influence the implementation of new state policies, while advancing school funding equity, teacher quality and diversity, and early literacy intervention ahead of the October special session.


EdTrust in Louisiana launched a partnership engagement initiative, Cocktails and Conversations, which convened more than 60 educational leaders and advocates across Louisiana’s southern region to align and strategize on educational priorities.


EdTrust continues to work closely with the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership (MEEP). Following the Supreme Court’s decisions on affirmative action and federal student loan debt forgiveness, MEEP created a postsecondary education working group, which launched the #Allin4aDebtFreeFuture campaign. This campaign aims to build greater awareness and momentum around higher education affordability.


In Maryland, EdTrust continues to make local communities aware of what’s in their district’s plan to implement the Blueprint law. This quarter, we worked to support community members in prioritizing strong policy recommendations that address specific inequities in their school districts.


In September, EdTrust researchers presented the initial findings of a Kentucky brief about how COVID-19 impacted access to advanced coursework in the state and facilitated a planning and brainstorming session on how to advance policies in the coming legislative session.

On the Hill

EdTrust, alongside advocates and policy experts, continued ongoing efforts to educate the public about Black student debt and the need for race-inclusive college admissions processes. Additionally, Ed Trust and other groups called on the U.S. Department of Education to continue pushing for student debt cancellation via the negotiated rule-making process. We are also working to protect and expand vital funding streams that millions of students and educators rely on.

We continue to be deeply involved at the federal level in combatting efforts to silence people of color and whitewash their stories, perspectives, and lived experiences, via restrictive legislation like the Parents Bill of Rights Act and other anti-LGBTQ, anti-CRT, and anti-DEI laws.

Previous Quarterly Updates