K-12 Education Policy
The K-12 Education Policy team is committed to developing policies for a new education agenda rooted in principles of opportunity for all and equity in access.
What We're Doing
Racial equity and community-informed policies
K-12 Education applies an explicit race and resource equity lens to our policy and research agenda. We set a standard where equity is centered in all education policymaking and practice, and where institutional racism is called out and addressed as a barrier to progress.
College, career, and civic readiness
We are dedicated to preparing all students for college, civic engagement, and the workforce. We recognize the importance of the K-12 education system in providing every child with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in higher education and a changing workforce.
Modernizing and elevating the teaching profession
We recognize that no education reform effort can be successful without teachers. We are working to modernize and elevate the teaching profession so that teachers receive the training, pay, and respect they deserve and all students have access to high-quality teachers.
Investment and funding equity for public education
We know that funding matters in education, and there are both racial and socioeconomic disparities in investment and opportunities. We are fighting for increased investment and more equitable funding systems so that schools and students receive the resources they deserve.
Future of Testing in Education: Effective and Equitable Assessment Systems
How To Ensure Equitable Access to Great Teaching
Ending K-12 Education Funding Inequity: Public Education Opportunity Grants
The K-12 Education team is grateful to be part of several great coalitions that allow education advocates and community members to share information, coordinate advocacy, brainstorm policy proposals, and more.
Public Education Big Table Coalition
This coalition represents a group of education, civil rights, disability, research, and community organizations working on K-12 education policy and advocacy.
The PIE Network connects, strengthens, and catalyzes advocates across communities, states, and ideological lines to ensure every student has an equitable and excellent education.
This national coalition of diverse education organizations and educators sought to transform the systems and policies that support teachers to ensure all students have access to great teaching.
The K-12 Education team has worked with partner organizations on major initiatives aimed at strengthening different parts of the U.S. education system.
WeBuildEDU, in partnership with EduColor
WeBuildEDU is a campaign led by the Center for American Progress and EduColor dedicated to amplifying the voices of educators of color in discussions about what public education should look like in light of the ongoing movement for racial justice and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a combination of media, local organizing, and policy proposals, the campaign will work to ensure that decision-makers are centering the ideas and experiences of educators of color and involving them in policymaking in the short and long term.
Moonshot for Kids, in partnership with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
The Moonshot for Kids initiative was a yearlong collaboration with the Fordham Institute to gather ideas for new research and development (R&D) and bolster bipartisan support for education R&D. The initiative had three components: publications about the history of education R&D; a competition to identify big, bold ideas that additional investment in education R&D could fund; and a policy proposal for how to build out a sustainable education R&D infrastructure.
Our team believes that education policymaking should be developed with support from the community. We collaborate with community-based groups to hold conversations with educators, administrators, students, and parents and incorporate these stories and insights into our policy proposals and advocacy. Here are some of the organizations we have worked with.
Alliance for Quality Education
A coalition working to end the systemic racism and economic oppression in New York’s public schools shortchanging generations of Black, brown, low-income, and immigrant students.
Colorado Education Initiative
CEI helps teachers, school leaders, and district stakeholders catalyze bold, comprehensive change in public education in Colorado.
Education Justice Research and Organizing Collaborative at NYU Metro Center
EJ-ROC brings together researchers, data and policy analysts, and community organizers to design solutions and advance the education justice movement.
EduColor mobilizes advocates nationwide around issues of educational equity, agency, and justice.
An immigrant-led nonprofit partnering with educators and community leaders to ensure safe and inclusive schools for undocumented and mixed-status students and families.
NewMexicoKidsCAN serves as a catalyst and conduit to advocate for community-informed, student-centered and research-backed education policies in New Mexico.
Parents Amplifying Voices in Education
PAVE connects, informs, and empowers parent leaders to give families in Washington, D.C., a voice and choice in the vision for education in the city.
Student Voice equips students as storytellers, organizers and partners who advocate for student-driven solutions to educational inequity.
TransFamily Support Services
TransFamily Support Services promotes a gender-affirming and accepting community through resources, training, and education.
About our team
We are deeply committed to the role of education in building an equitable and just society. Our approach is to apply an explicit racial equity lens to problem-solving. That lens requires us to engage the communities and people most deeply impacted by education policies in our research, advocacy, and coalition-building. A combination of professional expertise and expertise from the lived experiences of community members allows us to develop and advocate for ideas that will expand opportunity, build a strong democracy, and advance an inclusive economy, both now and in the future.
Proposed Changes to the Mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection
In these comments, the Center for American Progress suggests revisions to the Civil Rights Data Collection to get the data necessary to address equity gaps in education.
Educator’s View: Assessing Students Properly Requires More Than One Test. And Some of Them May Not Be What You Think
Jamil Modaffari discusses how states should be rethinking their approach to standardized testing in K-12 schools.
These 6 Priorities Show the Need for a Robust Domestic Discretionary Budget
Funding for government agencies expires on March 11; rather than pass another stopgap bill, Congress must pass full-year appropriations that adequately support the nation’s priorities and needs.
Q&A With CAP’s New Senior Vice President for Education, Jesse O’Connell
Jesse O'Connell, the new senior vice president for Education at the Center for American Progress, talks about the opportunities this moment offers to improve early childhood, K-12, and higher education in the United States.
Education Policies Need To Address the Unique Needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities
The Center for American Progress is conducting new research that uplifts the lived experiences in public education of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. This research will advance CAP’s ongoing work to apply an explicit racial equity lens to K-12 education policymaking.
Co-Sponsoring Legislation To Advance Safe, Healthy, and Inclusive School Climates
Led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, this letter urges members of Congress to co-sponsor the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act, the Keeping All Students Safe Act, the Protecting our Students in Schools Act, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, and the Ending PUSHOUT Act.
Engaging the Community in School Funding Decisions
Community members highlight the importance of community involvement in school spending decisions and ways for schools to increase this engagement.
Retaining and Fostering Diverse Schools Program in the FY 2022 Budget
Led by the National Coalition on School Diversity, this letter advocates for the inclusion of the Fostering Diverse Schools program in the fiscal year 22 budget.
Supporting the Strength in Diversity Act (H.R. 729)
Led by the National Coalition on School Diversity, this letter expresses support for the Strength in Diversity Act.
Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges of Charter Management Contracts for Public Schools
A review of the common failures of contracts between management companies and the charter schools they oversee suggests some changes could help protect both students and taxpayer money.
How To Increase Support for Youth Leaving Juvenile Detention Facilities
Students returning home from juvenile detention centers deserve support to reintegrate into their communities, especially during the pandemic.
How Educators, Students, and Families Would Spend Additional K-12 Education Funding
Educators, students, and family members discuss the important investments they would make to improve the educational experience if they had additional education funding.