Shaping Change: Building a District Advocacy Framework to Strengthen the Movement for Education Equity in the Era of COVID-19
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CitationAlberty, Marissa. 2021. Shaping Change: Building a District Advocacy Framework to Strengthen the Movement for Education Equity in the Era of COVID-19. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
AbstractThe Education Trust is a national nonprofit that aims to close opportunity gaps in education that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income communities. After the 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which gave states more decentralized power in education policy and practice, The Education Trust significantly grew its field advocacy work in states, expanding its reach and influence. This growth also led to opportunities for district-level advocacy efforts. However, there was neither clarity on the role The Education Trust should have at the district level, nor a framework to explain how the work should be done.
During my residency, I worked to define The Education Trust’s role in district advocacy and built a framework that aimed to advance the organization’s overall goals in the midst of multiple global crises. Drawing from research on social movements, organizational change, and strategic leadership in crisis, I worked across teams on multiple projects, testing out various approaches to district advocacy on issues such as resource equity, discipline, and unfinished learning. The process included several rounds of organizational input and feedback from community advocates and organizational leadership, aligning on a shared vision, and building buy-in for long-term district advocacy in the organization. As a result, The Education Trust is on a path towards implementing a more formalized strategy for district advocacy.
The overall findings of this capstone suggest that The Education Trust should formulate an organization-wide theory of action for its advocacy efforts, from federal to state to district, as well as engage in a future-planning process that will help the organization prepare for and thrive in the inevitable changes to come in the future. Furthermore, the education sector should leverage the unique moment of COVID-19 recovery to create a new educational reality that is affirming, equitable, and sets all students up for a life that fulfills their hopes and dreams.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370273