Education

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.

Students go over their drawings during an art class. (Getty/Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times)

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.

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.

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Featured work

Coalition Partners

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.

TeachStrong

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.

Community Partners

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.

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.

Latest

Why K-12 Teachers and Their Students Need Investments in Child Care Article
Teacher standing while helping student seated at desk

Why K-12 Teachers and Their Students Need Investments in Child Care

To meet the caregiving needs of the K-12 educator workforce and the developmental needs of the youngest students, the United States needs sustained, significant federal investments in the accessibility and affordability of high-quality child care.

Emily Katz

The Alternative Teacher Certification Sector Outside Higher Education Report
Photo shows a group of adults seated around tables in a classroom.

The Alternative Teacher Certification Sector Outside Higher Education

Enrollment continues to grow in alternative teacher certification programs operated outside of colleges, but the number of students completing these programs is declining.

Jacqueline E. King, Jessica Yin

Prioritizing Racial Equity in Student Mental Health Spending Report

Prioritizing Racial Equity in Student Mental Health Spending

States and school districts have rightly prioritized student mental health as they start to spend pandemic recovery dollars, but they must do more to ensure that funding also promotes racial equity.

Abby Quirk

Proposed Priorities for the School Pulse Panel Data Collection Sign-On Letter

Proposed Priorities for the School Pulse Panel Data Collection

In these comments, the Alliance for Excellent Education and partners provide recommendations to the School Pulse Panel Data Collection to advance shared educational equity priorities through federal, state, and local policy and advocacy.

Center for American Progress and partners

Proposed Changes to the Mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection Sign-On Letter

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.

Center for American Progress and partners

Education Policies Need To Address the Unique Needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities Report
A group of young (1st grade) Asian students dressed in colorful traditional clothing, standing in front of a microphone. They are holding sheets of light yellow paper, performing folk poetry for the Hmong American Day celebration at the state capitol.

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.

Roby Chatterji, Jessica Yin

Co-Sponsoring Legislation To Advance Safe, Healthy, and Inclusive School Climates Sign-On Letter

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.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, partners

Retaining and Fostering Diverse Schools Program in the FY 2022 Budget Sign-On Letter

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.

The National Coalition on School Diversity, partners

Supporting the Strength in Diversity Act (H.R. 729) Sign-On Letter

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.

The National Coalition on School Diversity, partners

Fact Sheet: Targeted Grants for Educational Excellence Program Fact Sheet
 (An educator teaches integrated math at a high school in Pasadena, California, April 2021.)

Fact Sheet: Targeted Grants for Educational Excellence Program

This fact sheet outlines the details of a proposed grant program that would increase recruitment and retention of highly qualified educators in schools with the highest teacher turnover.

Bayliss Fiddiman, Lisette Partelow

How To Ensure Equitable Access to Great Teaching Report
 (The Los Angeles Unified School District interim superintendent spends time with a kindergarten student to celebrate the first day of in-class instruction at an elementary school in Los Angeles, August 2021.)

How To Ensure Equitable Access to Great Teaching

The Center for American Progress proposes a new grant program to address the working conditions that contribute to job dissatisfaction and high turnover among the nation’s K-12 teachers in order to increase equal access to highly qualified teachers.

Bayliss Fiddiman, Lisette Partelow

The Secretary’s Proposed Priorities for Discretionary Grants Programs Article

The Secretary’s Proposed Priorities for Discretionary Grants Programs

In these comments, the Center for American Progress provides support for the secretary’s six proposed priorities and offers some additional recommendations to further strengthen them.

the Center for American Progress

How Students Can Help Build Better Education Policy Report
 (A student raises a hand during a seventh and eighth grade math tutoring workshop in Fullerton, California, November 2014.)

How Students Can Help Build Better Education Policy

The Education Department has an opportunity to reimagine the policymaking process by committing to incorporating student voice.

Ashley Jeffrey, Sadie Bograd

Social and Emotional Supports for Educators During and After the Pandemic Report
 (Two female teachers are pictured in an empty classroom talking and bent forward looking at a laptop screen; picture is taken from the other side of a door with a glass pane with a

Social and Emotional Supports for Educators During and After the Pandemic

As K-12 districts and schools plan for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that providing social and emotional supports for educators is a key part of the conversation.

Megan Ferren

Recommending the Reestablishment of Five White House Initiatives Sign-On Letter

Recommending the Reestablishment of Five White House Initiatives

In this letter, Khalilah Harris recommends that the Biden administration reestablish five White House initiatives housed in the Department of Education.

Khalilah M. Harris

Remote Learning and School Reopenings: What Worked and What Didn’t Report
 (A high school freshman returns to campus for the first time since schools closed due to the coronavirus, as students return for in-person instruction at a high school in Long Beach, California, March 2021.)

Remote Learning and School Reopenings: What Worked and What Didn’t

As the United States recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and schools return to in-person learning in the fall, it is key that educators learn from the successes of the past year and avoid making the same mistakes.

Megan Ferren

Investing in Educators Through the American Families Plan Sign-On Letter

Investing in Educators Through the American Families Plan

Led by Teach Plus, this letter to Congress asks that $9 billion in funding be included in the American Families Plan to invest in the teaching workforce.

Teach Plus, partners

Closing Advanced Coursework Equity Gaps for All Students Report
Tenth-grade students make programming adjustments to a robot that they are testing in a Computer Science Principles course at a Maryland high school, December 2017. (Getty/Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Closing Advanced Coursework Equity Gaps for All Students

Even in high schools with similar levels of access to advanced coursework, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students are less likely to be enrolled in advanced courses—and even when they are enrolled, they experience less success in these courses than their peers.

Roby Chatterji, Neil Campbell, Abby Quirk

The Funnel To Passing AP Exams Interactive

The Funnel To Passing AP Exams

This interactive uses data from the U.S. Department of Education to estimate how many students, overall and disaggregated, enroll in AP courses, take AP tests, and pass AP tests.

Roby Chatterji, Neil Campbell, Abby Quirk

Public Hearing on Title IX Article

Public Hearing on Title IX

Led by GLSEN and six other co-leaders, these comments were submitted in response to the Department of Education’s public hearing on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

GLSEN, partners

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