This year, K-12 policy-making shifted to the states, with waivers for No Child Left Behind regulations granted to states by the Department of Education. How did equity fare, state by state? Our Spring 2013 report, “A Step Forward or a Step Back?” explained how to discern — in detail — if a state’s waiver accountability policy supports academic gains for low-income students and students of color.
This year, we supported the advocates who push for change within states —
to strengthen equity through legislatures, state departments of education, and in districts.
Taking a helping role, we provided state advocates with policy advice on issues, including the equitable implementation of the Common Core, equitable access to teachers, educator evaluation systems, educational rigor, and public access to critical school and district information.
Fast-growing relationships based on shared work on these issues gave us new insights and ever-deeper respect for the fight for equity on the ground. In 2013, in addition to our ongoing strong presence and partnerships in California and Michigan, we worked in 12 states, with especially solid relationships in four — Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, and Texas.
A Step Forward or a Step Back?
State Accountability in the Waiver Era
For low-income families, the skyrocketing cost of higher education — and prospect of massive debt — lowers college aspirations. Secondary school students lose incentive to prepare academically for college. Those that persevere are discouraged from applying to rigorous, expensive four-year institutions. They settle for less — and get fewer of the long-term benefits that come with high achievement.
Big cost and big debt combine to undermine the foundation of equal opportunity.
In 2013, our higher ed division delivered "Doing Away With Debt," a bold policy solution that frames a new federalism for college opportunity and success. To reduce student debt, close opportunity gaps, and increase college completion, our college aid redesign consolidates 10 federal loan, grant (separate from the Pell Grant), and higher ed-related tax programs to finance state and institutional aid directed at a “no-debt” guarantee to students from low-income families and a “no-interest” loan guarantee to students from middle-income families. National Journal calls it “visionary.” We’re working with student groups, individual colleges, and states to make it a reality.
Through clear, relevant policy, we work to make federal legislation fairer. From July 2012 to June 2013, we had over 130 meetings with offices on Capitol Hill, at the Department of Education, and at the White House. We reviewed, critiqued, and helped to shape federal legislation on college aid policies offered by three Senate offices and had influence on all but one of this year’s ESEA reauthorization bills.
Every day, at great schools in unexpected places, low-income students and students of color consistently achieve at high levels. We are committed to finding and learning from such schools, and each year we recognize a handful with ourDispelling the Myth Award(DTM).
This year educators from four DTM-winning schools — and 10 former winners — brought their effective practices to our national conference. We also share stories and data about DTM schools all year long, through webinars on school leadership and in a new series of Huffington Post blogs by our writer-in-residence, Karin Chenoweth.
Close to 600 equity-minded educators and advocates come together at our national conference. They are inspired by honest, experienced speakers — and learn about schools where all students achieve at high levels — all while getting practical tools they can immediately apply back home. Participants take the time to connect both over big issues and the details of getting it right, helping them to work on real change in their systems and schools to raise achievement and close gaps.
Two new docudramas tell the stories of students left underprepared for the rapidly changing world outside the schoolhouse door. Based entirely on interviews, these performances follow four high school students placed on low-level academic and vocational tracks. As they move through high school and then out into the world, we witness the disparity between the skills and education students need for college and work — and what they receive.
Playwright-researcher Brooke Haycock’s one-woman docudramas channel real voices to tell the story of broken trust between students and schools in two locations: the northern rust belt and the American South.
Her performances are an innovative and powerful way to spark honest conversations among educators, advocates, and policymakers about the choices they make and the power they have to change the lives of students of color and students from low-income families.
Families, students, and counselors need to find their way through the maze of options — and dangers — on the path to choosing the right college. In 2013, we created the College Decision Road Map, a user-friendly tool to help them explore and select colleges. It guides students through questions of location, size, and student diversity — and, unlike many other sources, helps families get the facts on graduation rates and opportunities for understanding the net price of attendance and financial aid options. College needs to be a wise investment of money and time. The College Decision Road Map, created for all students but especially for those from low-income families and families of color, informs and empowers students to make the choice that’s right for them.
Access to Success (A2S) is a major initiative supporting public universities committed to doing a much better job admitting low-income students and students of color — and a much better job of bringing them all the way through to degree completion.
Many low-income students and students of color who could be achieving at the highest levels are not. Gaps have narrowed at the “below basic” level — but have widened at the advanced level. And when students come from higher income families, gaps in high achievement between white students and students of color are even more pronounced. Our report, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Achievement,” describes these trends — and provides solid advice for educators on how to close these gaps.
More than half a million low-income students and students of color are “missing” from AP and IB participation — students we know would benefit from these advanced courses if they participated at the same rates as other students.
"Finding America’s Missing AP and IB Students" describes these disparities — and identifies practical strategies from schools that have disrupted these inequitable patterns.
It’s simply inaccurate to think that low college graduation rates are inevitable for low-income students and students of color. In the 2013 report "Intentionally Successful" we identified higher ed institutions that graduate these students in solid, high percentages — but also named other schools with virtually identical demographic mixes that continue to do poorly, and that continue to blame students instead of being accountable for their core function: to educate.
College Results Online is a free Web tool providing essential information about America’s colleges: who they admit, what percentage of their students graduate — making choices clear for families, especially low-income students and students of color, and providing data for researchers, journalists, educators, advocates, and elected officials.
Data analysis — knowing the facts about where we’ve been and where we are today — grounds all our work. Americans want to know how our kids are doing — and we let them know. Where we perform as a nation in achievement and equity isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s rooted in numbers that we never let the public forget.
This year, the Ed Trust’s lightning-quick analyses of public datasets gave us the facts on student achievement. Results from the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) reveal real gains for the U.S., but also confirm how far we have to go to prepare all students to compete in today’s global economy.
The public’s hunger for these facts never diminishes. Our data analysis garnered readers from across the nation through articles by the Associated Press, Reuters, Education Week, the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, Bloomberg News, and the Huffington Post, among many others.
This year we analyzed the long-term National Assessment of Educational Progress and found that, since the 1970s, reading and math for 9 and 13-year-olds has significantly increased. Gains have been largest among students of color, including math, where African American and Latino 9-year-olds perform about where their 13-year-old counterparts were in the early ‘70s. Learn more.
Data can bring equity into focus in the state house. This past year, governors at the Hunt Institute’s Governor’s Education Summit read summaries we’d prepared for their states — numbers on achievement, attainment, and equity in each state as well as the cross-state rankings — and asked for more. We delivered EdWatch State Reports to governors in all 50 states — reports that have also been downloaded by advocates, educators, and researchers.
Families — students and their parents — need to know the facts about student achievement, climate, funding, high schools, school districts, and teachers in their own schools and districts. Too often, however, systems are far from transparent. We produced fact sheets that covered what critical school data are, and are not, publicly available in nine states and 16 cities for our public information campaign,
“Parents Want to Know.”
Raising achievement for low-income students and students of color and closing gaps improves educational outcomes, strengthens our economic future, and serves justice. This year, Ed Trust coalitions included education reform groups, business, unions, and civil rights organizations working on shared issues that advance diverse missions. Together, we tackled the Student Success Act, fraud and abuse in career education, student loan interest rates, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and improved educator evaluation systems. Collective voices get better results in Washington.
Student loans and the escalating cost of higher ed inspired participation by online activists. First this year, a campaign protecting student loan interest rates generated close to 70,000 e-mails to Congress and major editorials from the Los Angeles Times to the Miami Herald and Detroit Free Press.
And the I AM NOT A LOAN campaign, calling on colleges to reduce student debt and featuring personal narratives of students, mobilized over 22,000 activists, with 2,300 likes on Facebook and 1,900 Twitter followers. Join the campaign.
Because so many serious fights for equity were happening outside of D.C., we directly entered state debates — and influenced media coverage — alongside state-based and local activists in fights that made an immediate difference in the lives of students: getting all kids fair access to great teachers; getting honest, relevant teacher evaluations; and keeping standards high for graduation. We spoke out against California’s proposed waivers at the district level. We brought clarity to a “cut the gap in half” strategy for equity in Florida. We opposed Texas’ — and then Michigan’s and Minnesota’s — rollback of high school graduation requirements.
Too, we helped to enlarge coalitions: bringing together ed reform groups with civil rights organizations in ways that strengthened educational equity for both sides of the partnership. And we provided back-office support in policy and data analysis, legislative language, strategy, and media attention.
After a year and a half, we’ve established relationships in 12 states — and counting. What’s best of all is that we’re learning every day about what matters beyond the Beltway.
Despite the gridlock and hyper-partisanship on Capitol Hill, federal policy continues to make a real difference for equitable educational opportunity. And the Ed Trust continues to relentlessly track issues, build champions, and work with staff and elected officials to ensure that students of color and low-income students are never forgotten when it comes to understanding the consequences of different positions, crafting compromises, or getting down to the nuts and bolts of writing legislation.
This year the Ed Trust, as it always has, spoke loud and clear for what is right for low-income students and students of color, weighing in on every piece of proposed federal education policy. We supplied clear-headed public commentary about the impact of any and all proposals, legislation, and regulations coming out of Capitol Hill and the Obama administration.
Ed Trust newsletters inform federal policymakers — with Trustworthy News providing every Hill education staffer with relevant current clips to keep them on top of breaking education news with an equity slant.
In 2012-13, we also kept over 14,000 subscribers current on newsworthy education data points with a timely, sharable infographic in the weekly Equity Express. Sign up to follow Equity Express.
Through media and presentations, we lift up equity, an issue that touches every corner of the nation.
Our open door, our great data, and our clear analysis means that we’re often the go-to source for editorial boards and journalists needing interpretation on education issues and a trusted source for information that reporters can’t get anywhere else.
While the Ed Trust is far from massive — now around 60 employees, with regional offices in California and Michigan — we’ve been able to accomplish great things. Part of our track record comes from a total focus on our mission — we keep it simple and assess every decision, every expenditure, every day’s work by a single standard: Did we advance educational opportunity for students of color and low-income students?
Here’s a brief history of landmarks to date
The Education Trust is founded as part of the American Association for Higher Education.
ET brings K-12, higher education, and community activists together to launch first-ever community-level “K-16” reforms.
ET serves as home to the Chapter 1 Commission and secures massive overhaul of Federal Title I program.
ET works with teachers, in Philadelphia and in two Texas cities, El Paso and Pueblo, to design “Standards in Practice,” a tool to help teachers bring day-to-day assignments into alignment with state standards.
The Education Trust is incorporated as an independent nonprofit.
ET publishes first edition of its biennial Education Watch, the first-ever state-by-state report on gaps in opportunity and achievement.
ET secures first-ever accountability provisions for teacher preparation in the Higher Education Act.
ET publishes “Good Teaching Matters,” a landmark report described in 2011 by Steven Brill as one that began “a flood … that would reframe the education debate.”
ET publishes “Ticket to Nowhere,” the first call to prepare all high school students for college, labeled as unrealistic and even irrelevant at the time, but now the foundation for the Common College- and Career-Ready Standards.
ET plays key role in shaping No Child Left Behind, partnering with the business community, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Congressman George Miller, and the Bush administration to require schools receiving federal dollars to improve achievement for all groups of students.
ET opens its first state office, Ed Trust–West, in California.
First Dispelling the Myth Awards announced, recognizing high-poverty schools and those attended mostly by students of color for exemplary achievement.
ET releases “Telling the Whole Truth (or Not) About High School Graduation,” the first of three reports calling states out for misrepresenting their high school graduation rates. It leads to a 2005 compact among governors to implement voluntarily a common formula for calculating grad rates.
ET launches College Results Online, the first tool allowing consumers easy access to college graduation rates, costs, and demographics; and showing college leaders how well they performed compared with similar institutions.
ET joins with the National Association of System Heads to launch Access to Success, an initiative engaging more than 20 public university systems in an effort to cut access and success gaps in half by 2015.
ET named the #1 education advocacy organization of the decade by Education Week. ET President Kati Haycock is named as the third most influential person in education (after Bill Gates and then-President George W. Bush).
Harvard Education Press publishes It’s Being Done: Academic Success in Unexpected Schools, by Writer-in-Residence Karin Chenoweth. The book profiles 15 high-performing schools that serve high-poverty communities and is named one of the decade’s top education books by Education Next.
Harvard Education Press publishes How It’s Being Done: Urgent Lessons from Unexpected Schools, another Chenoweth book about practices in high-achieving, high-poverty schools.
ET co-founds the U.S. Education Delivery Institute, with Sir Michael Barber, to help state higher education and K-12 system leaders achieve aggressive improvement and gap-closing goals.
The Data Quality Campaign reorganizes as a supporting organization to ET.
ET establishes a second state office, EdTrust–Midwest,
ET runs Save Pell, protecting this invaluable aid program
for low- and middle-income college students from huge proposed cuts.
Harvard Education Press publishes Getting It Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools by Chenoweth and Director of Research Christina Theokas.
Jossey Bass publishes Degrees Matter, a book by Linda Murray, Ed Trust–West’s superintendent-in-residence, on how school districts can organize to assure that all their students are ready for college.
ET brings together its biggest coalition yet — including
major education reform groups, civil rights organizations, reform-minded state education officers, business groups, and disability organizations — to oppose efforts to water down equity provisions of federal Title I law.
The Education Trust is named one of the top three most effective education lobbyists in Washington, D.C., by Education Insider, a survey of 50 influential leaders active in education reform.
ET is selected by
Washingtonian Magazine as a Great Place
In the U.S. Department of Education’s waiver policy, ET shapes — and advocates for — language that sets high goals for achievement for all students, a provision representing a huge win for equity.
President and CEO (retired), Sesame Workshop
Deputy Director of Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Former School Board Member, Los Angeles Unified School District
Clinical Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Former President, Colorado Senate
President, The Education Trust
Chancellor Emeritus, University System of Maryland
Director, Center for Research on Education Reform
University of Texas at El Paso
Academic Dean, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University
Clarence J. Robinson Professor Emeritus, George Mason University
Total Net Assets: $13,333,475
Total Liabilities and Net Assets: $15,010,864
Total Expenses: $11,288,876
Schedule of Activities
Year Ended June 30, 2013
Schedule of Financial Position
Year Ended June 30, 2013
Support and Revenue
Total Support and Revenue: $11,393,870
Total Assets: $15,010,864
Campaigns for Change
Support the Ed Trust