Advocates in Action

Ed Trust hosts multi-state convenings, which we call “Equity Matters Bootcamps,” to bring together advocates from different states to share information on what works and provide inspiration for what’s possible to increase opportunities for historically underserved students. Invited participants at these bootcamps represent diverse communities impacted by educational inequities, including civil rights, business, educators, disability rights, immigration rights, and families. These advocates come together to identify and make plans to address the challenges and policy solutions for their unique contexts. Ed Trust has established itself as a reliable national partner ready to support groups’ advocacy efforts — big or small — that promote education justice.

San Antonio, Texas - November 2019

“Advocates in Action” was the theme of this convening, which opened with a plenary discussion on the harmful policies of the Trump administration (e.g., human rights violations at the border, the public charge rule, and the attempt to rescind DACA) and the implications for schools. John B. King, Ed Trust’s president and CEO, moderated the conversation and the panelists shared what their organizations are doing to help the immigrant and refugee community. The organizations represented were Texas AFL-CIO, The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and Texas Civil Rights Project. For this convening, we focused on skill-building and facilitated sessions that covered advocacy campaign strategies using social media, tactics for grassroots mobilization, and how to effectively use data to persuade policymakers to make changes for historically marginalized students. There was also a resource fair for advocates to interact with data tools and grab fact sheets, reports, and other materials.

Charlotte, North Carolina - March 2019

This convening, titled “Keeping Our Eye on the Ball: Making Sure Equity Matters,” equipped state advocates with policy and data on key issues for equitable implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Participants dug into critical school improvement strategies like diversifying the teacher workforce, bringing an equity lens to early childhood education and social emotional learning initiatives, and ensuring access to high quality instructional materials. Ed Trust created state-specific materials on the shortage of teachers of color and school counselors, as well as prepared a data analysis of key equity indicators for each state represented at this convening.

New Orleans, Louisiana - May 2018

This bootcamp was designed to be an intensive series of workshops that tackle the question: What to do when a school is struggling, for all its students or for some of its students? Participants heard from principals who had have led sustained improvement efforts, and they had an opportunity to learn about the most recent research on “escalated interventions” (i.e., governance changes and school closures). Dr. Janice Jackson, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and former Louisiana State Superintendent John White closed the meeting with a discussion on their school improvement efforts, lessons learned, and next steps for sustaining improvement.

Nashville, Tennessee - December 2017

By this point in time, almost every state had submitted their ESSA plans to the U.S. Department of Education, and so this convening was aptly titled, “We Have an ESSA Plan. Now What?” The primary objective of this convening was to highlight important provisions in ESSA that can be used as levers to promote educational equity. We explored questions on how data should be publicly reported in a way that is understandable to parents and community leaders so that they can spark necessary improvements in their schools; how to push state leaders to move beyond generic improvement strategies; and how to monitor the implementation of new English learner provisions, as required by ESSA.