Education Equity Advocacy in the COVID-19 Era – Breakout Sessions

P-12 Sessions

Racial Equity in Social, Emotional, and Academic DevelopmentExamine social, emotional, and academic development through a race-equity lens and improve policies to support all students.
Better, Safer, and Healthier Schools for Girls of ColorLearn concrete solutions for reimagining school safety to create better learning environments for Black, Latina, and Native students.
How States Measure Up in Educator DiversityJoin us to examine how your state currently rates on policies that support diversifying the educator workforce and how to push for targeted improvements.
The Urgency of Creating Equitable Early Learning SystemsThe pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of child care and early learning. The health crisis has caused mass closures of early learning programs, creating major challenges for families and for the early learning workforce, which is largely comprised of women of color who are underpaid and undervalued. In this session, we’ll discuss what states can do to build an equitable, high-quality system for young children of color and from low-income families, especially in this moment. We’ll also hear from an advocate in Louisiana about the challenges and bright spots he sees facing early childhood education.
Protecting High-Poverty Districts from COVID-Induced State Funding CutsThe decisions that state leaders make to address unprecedented revenue shortfalls triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-lasting consequences. State leaders should work to protect education budgets, which have barely recovered from the last recession. But if cuts to education budgets must be made, they should be made in a way that protects districts with the most need. This session will introduce equity-oriented principles for state leaders making funding cuts and show how different ways to cut the same amount of spending could impact high-poverty districts differently in your state. Leave with a clear understanding of what to ask your state leaders to do if they have to cut the education budget.
Using Data from Multiple Measures to Pave the Way ForwardAcross the country, students are beginning the 2020 – 2021 school year in a range of settings – some are learning remotely, some are attending physical schools, and many are participating in a mix of both. Given these various approaches, it is more important than ever that school districts collect and publicly report data such as statewide assessment data, and other measures, such as attendance and engagement, food access, and social-emotional well-being. This data can help educators and communities understand the gaps exacerbated by COVID and identify the resources needed to chart an equitable path forward. This session will focus on what advocates can do to protect critical tools, including statewide assessments, that provide insight into how COVID is impacting students, especially students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.
(R)evolutionizEd2020: System Leadership for a New DecadeSchool leadership is critical to student learning. This school year requires a willingness to reimagine their leadership to address the challenges they, their staff, students, their families, and the community will face. This session will provide a framework for reimagined leadership and community support.

Higher Ed Sessions

Incorporating Race-Conscious Policy in Higher EducationWhen it comes to higher education, unfortunately, higher education leaders and policymakers have long used unjust policies to exclude students of color from pursuing and earning college degrees. Federal, state, and institutional leaders must enact race-conscious policies for college admissions and degree attainment, higher education funding, student debt relief, and campus climate - Racist policies must be overturned and income-based policies alone are insufficient to achieve racial equity in U.S. higher education. Relying on historical analysis and analysis of trends in college opportunity and outcomes for Black students, Ed Trust’s report, Hard Truths: Why Only Race-Conscious Policies Can Fix Racism in Higher Education answers a call from education equity advocates for tools to push policymakers to focus explicitly on race in higher education.
A Promise Worth Keeping: An Updated Equity-Driven Free College Framework2020 has been a year of disruption and transformation. Social uprisings and protests in the streets, in response to police killings of unarmed Black people, systemic racism, and social inequality, have brought attention to the disparity of the American experience. While many policy makers and public officials have issued lofty statements of racial solidarity, the people are demanding bold policy that makes systemic change. Free College opportunities alone cannot fix racial injustice, but if designed properly, can be one of several policies that can remove barriers to higher education, and create economic opportunity for those who have been historically excluded by legal blockades and financial constraints. This session will be a review Ed Trust’s new report on the free college programs and policies in each state, highlighting the best and worst state policies.
Segregation Forever?: The Continued Underrepresentation of Black and Latino Undergraduates at the Nation’s 101 Most Selective Public Colleges and UniversitiesWhile the COVID-19 pandemic and the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others have shined a bright light on systemic racism in America, there is less awareness of the many ways systemic racism limits educational opportunity for Black and Latino people. Many of the nation’s top public colleges say, “Black Lives Matter,” but do they enroll Black or Latino students? See how the top public universities in your state are graded on their access to Black and Latino students, and the recommendations to adjust admissions policies to be more reflective of their communities

Advocacy Sessions

Implementing Creative Advocacy Avenues in the Time of COVID-19The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we do our work as advocates. Now in particular, in the time of social distancing and virtual work, organizers and advocates across the country are forced to get creative in finding ways to engage the public, memberships, and target decision makers in the continued work for education equity in the states and nationally. We will hear from state advocates that have used this time to craft creative advocacy opportunities for their audiences in this time that have been effective in carrying out their work. Join us for an open conversation and brainstorming about what we can all do to move forward in the work.
Students Deserve CreditBy implementing competency-based education, states can participate in postsecondary learning that accommodates their schedule at a pace they set. This dual approach can accelerate millions of hard-working, highly skilled students and workers on the path to a valuable credential that certifies their ability to do the job.
The Power of Collaboration with Local School BoardsThis session will share top tips for advocates to work alongside local school boards for change, sharing practices they can immediately implement.
Equity Considerations in Distance LearningIn many communities, especially communities of color and low-income communities, students lack access to the technological resources they need to connect to virtual learning opportunities. Distance learning also poses an increased challenge for schools in trying to keep students engaged. This session will focus on what advocates can ask their states, districts, and institutions to do to make sure that all students stay connected and continue to learn even when school buildings are closed due to COVID-19.
Equity in Crisis With the range of schooling models in the current school year and the concern about widening equity gaps, schools and districts must be particularly attentive to the linguistic and academic development of California’s dual language learners (DLLs) and English learners (ELs). Now more than ever, education leaders have a critical role to play in recognizing and uplifting the assets English learner bring to school. Come hear from panelists across different states about their actionable ideas for how advocates can ensure that local and state education leaders deliver for EL students in the current school year and beyond.
Federal Education Policy in 2020 and BeyondThis session will look back on federal education policies put in place earlier this year in response to COVID-19, assess where we are and highlight Ed Trust’s key policy interests.