July 2022 Update: Addressing Unfinished Learning, Student Debt, Justice-Impacted Students, and More
In Washington D.C. and across the country, Ed Trust has helped steer the nation’s attention on the scale and scope of unfinished learning due to the pandemic. And with nearly $200 billion in federal funding allocated for education in the American Rescue Plan, we have highlighted this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for schools to create an educational experience that values diversity, feeds every student’s innate desire to learn, and embraces equal access and second chances.
Ed Trust has joined the growing call for the federal government to overhaul the broken student loan system. Student debt cancelation, better implementation of income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, and more relief for Black women borrowers who are uniquely burdened by student debt are just a few of the measures lawmakers need to address.
This spring, our amazing P-12 Practice team worked with chief equity officers in school districts across the country to help promote more equitable pathways to school district leadership.
Ed Trust also held our first in-person bootcamp since the onset of the pandemic — bringing together advocates from across the country to strategize ways to drive change at the state and local level.
In addition, our first cohort of Justice Policy Fellows graduated, personifying the culmination of our research around the issues faced by justice-impacted students. Expect big things from them as they continue to amplify their call to remove unjust barriers that keep current and formerly incarcerated individuals from accessing higher education.
The rise in school suspensions, expulsions, and other disciplinary actions has resulted in the further criminalization of Black students. To shine a light on this urgent problem and elevate potential solutions, Ed Trust, in partnership with NAACP Legal Defense Fund, co-hosted a virtual townhall on The Criminalization of Black Children. We also developed a new 50-state scan tool that outlines social, emotional, and academic (SEAD) policies in each state to help advocates press for statewide SEAD policies with a racial equity lens.
At Ed Trust, we value data as a tool to push for academic excellence for Black and Latino students. We used data to encourage school leaders to expand access to advanced STEM coursework for Black and Latino youth. We used data to secure school funding reform in Tennessee, lift barriers to dual enrollment in Louisiana, and advocate for policies to reduce child poverty in New York.
During the past quarter, I’ve met with numerous organizations and partners across the country sharing Ed Trust’s work. I have spoken with students, state school officers, government leaders, women’s empowerment advocates, progressive foundations, and several groups on Capitol Hill. Plus, I visited with our brilliant team of advocates and leaders in several Ed Trust state offices to get a firsthand view of the incredible work being done on the frontlines.
I am also deeply honored to be recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of Washington, D.C.’s 500 Most Influential People in 2022. The recognition says a lot about the impact the entire staff at Ed Trust is having on the education equity space. While awards are nice, we cannot rest on our laurels, especially when there is so much work yet to be done.
Looking ahead, Ed Trust will continue to push back on the avalanche of misinformation and disinformation currently undermining public education — particularly around issues of race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the accurate teaching of U.S. history. We will advocate for the America we want to see — not the America some want us to return to.
We move forward with heavy hearts, as we mourn with our partners in Texas and New York, after the senseless acts of terror carried out in Uvalde and Buffalo. In the light of such gun violence and rampant cruelty, it is easy to feel helpless. But we cannot lose hope. We must continue our quest for a more just America where love trumps hate, win-win aspirations trump zero-sum mentalities, and every child has the opportunity to grow up safely and achieve their dreams.
As fierce advocates for education equity, it is important for us at Ed Trust to hold steadfast to the belief that we are making a difference, understanding, as Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
For more details on Ed Trust’s recent activity, read our July 2022 update.