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
Combating the Culture Wars
Combating the Culture Wars
The school year may be winding down, but the Culture Wars are raging in schoolhouses across the country, as politicians look to drive a wedge between parents and families, students, and teachers with reckless attacks on education equity.
The theme for this quarter’s update, “Combating the Culture Wars,” highlights the important work Ed Trust is doing in many areas, not least of which is our work to press against harmful policies and mindsets that seek to create educational environments that are less racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse and responsive.
Below are a few highlights of our latest work
“I’ve been a superintendent for 15 years, and I’ve never been a part of a panel that focused on Black women’s experiences” said Dr. LaTonya Goffney at a joint Ed Trust and School Superintendents Association (AASA) event, titled “Black Women Superintendents Are Leading with Excellence.” Dr. Goffney, who leads the Aldine Independent District in Texas, was one of seven #sistersups who participated in the pioneering discussion about the pressures they face in their work lives and the need to diversify the school leadership pipeline.
What started as a seemingly arbitrary critique of a legal theory that few were familiar with or could explain turned into a well-funded, politically motivated, and broader attack on racial equity. Since June 2021, 44 states have introduced bills or taken some other state-level action to limit the discussion of race, gender, sexuality, and systemic inequities. In response, Ed Trust launched the #CantBeErased social media campaign, which highlights the work of various banned authors and notes that prohibitions on books and what can be taught in classrooms undermine education and are antithetical to democracy and the founding principles of our country.
In March, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced the controversial Parents Bill of Rights Act, which was inspired by extremist legislation introduced in various statehouses and designed to politicize U.S. schools. In response, Lynn Jennings, Ph.D., senior director of National and State Partnerships, wrote a strongly worded blog post on “What Parents Really Want: Less Politicking & More Attention to Students’ Academic & Mental Health Needs,” while Denise wrote an op-ed for The Grio, noting that “Parental Rights Legislation Without Parental Engagement is Full of Hot Air and Hidden Motives.”
We amplified the voice of Florida State Sen. Shevrin D. Jones via an interview with our own Ameshia Cross, which was shared on TikTok and reached new audiences. Jones has courageously spoken out against the unparalleled assaults on education, equity, and civil rights by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others. “It’s not about policies; it’s definitely not about people. It’s about power and how to maintain it,” said Jones.
Earlier this year, we featured multiple posts on the importance of teaching honest history and the dangers of whitewashing — and not just for Black students, but for White students as well. Blair Wriston wrote about growing up in Virginia, “blissfully ignorant [about] the history of [his] own state and community.” He said he didn’t learn about the rich history of communities of color until college. In another blog post, Kayla Higgs, a student at Trinity Washington University, expressed frustration about never having been taught much Black history outside of slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Windows and Mirrors
Why Students Should See Themselves in the Teacher Workforce
At a time when what is taught in our nation’s schools is being challenged, so-called “anti-critical race theory” campaigns are gaining traction, and racial divisions are driving political and social discourse, it is vital to have inclusive education spaces and opportunities for students to encounter and engage with different viewpoints.
Students, particularly students of color, thrive in classrooms led by teachers who share their racial and/or cultural background. Unfortunately, our nation’s P-12 and college workforce is far less diverse than its student population.
Below are a few highlights of our latest work
Last month, we unveiled our second cohort of Justice Fellows. These eight fellows are a part of a vibrant and nurturing community of directly impacted, formerly incarcerated individuals who have overcome the odds to attain a bachelor’s or master’s degree, created programs and organizations for the formerly incarcerated community, engaged in state legislative advocacy efforts, and more. The Justice Fellows will use their lived experience to inform, review, amplify, and reflect on The Education Trust’s policy recommendations for justice-impacted students. Meet them here.
In December, Ed Trust researchers published a report “Faculty Diversity and Student Success Go Hand in Hand, So Why Are University Faculties So White?.” The report examines faculty diversity relative to student diversity, as well as hiring equity, tenure equity, and changes in faculty representation over time for Black and Latino faculty at public, four-year institutions, and highlights colleges and universities that are making progress on diversifying their faculties and those that have more work to do.
Over the last few months, Ed Trust released a series of state briefs, along with an updated “Teacher Diversity & Equity Policy Scan” web tool, that provide data and a landscape analysis of policies (including new state policies and investments resulting from federal COVID relief funds) and practices for advocates, educators, and decisionmakers leading this work at the state level.
In November of 2022 we released a brief, “Educators of Color Make a Case for Teacher Diversity,” which was developed by more than 100 educators of color from seven states with the support of seven national organizations, including TeachPlus and the One Million Teachers of Color coalition. The educators developed action plans for their respective states to increase teacher diversity.
A diverse educator workforce benefits all students. The Education Trust in Texas released a report “Completing the Cycle: Supporting and Retaining Teachers of Color in Houston”. The report highlights that students of color are more likely to have better academic performance, improved graduation rates, and to attend college when taught by teachers of color.