To ensure equitable education policies, advocates must play a key role in state-level policymaking. IDRA seeks to change the landscape of state education advocacy by training advocates with a commitment to and/or experience with communities of color to influence state laws and lead a powerful network of impacted communities.
Education policy decisions are largely made and influenced by people who do not reflect the population of Texas’ and Georgia’s K-12 schools or institutions of higher education, the majority of whom are students of color. The state-level advocacy community has not adequately provided space to advocates with experience with communities of color and is missing their important expertise.
State policymakers can make stronger education policy decisions by working with advocates who are connected to impacted communities, particularly people of color. IDRA’s fellows gain real-world advocacy experiences and training during the state’s legislative session, work with coalitions, students and families to craft a community-centered education policy agenda, and join a network of advocates and policy influencers focused on improving racial equity in education policymaking spaces.
For an analysis of how advocates could have a greater impact on policymaking, read Skin in the Game: The 86th Texas Legislative Session and Advocate Diversity by Morgan Craven, J.D., IDRA’s National Director of Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement.
This is Why
We are experiencing a time when access to public pK-12 and higher education increasingly feels under threat. The pandemic has worsened existing inequities in college access and enrollment, and exacerbated challenges for students currently in school. Additionally, across the country, the efforts to restrict truthful conversations about equity, history, racism, and other forms of discrimination are impacting how students can learn in their schools and prepare for college.
The last legislative sessions in Texas, Georgia and states across the U.S. South ushered in harmful classroom censorship bills that will widen racial inequities in schools and policies designed to silence and stigmatize LGBTQ+ communities. Efforts to censor speech and thought are now at the doors of colleges and universities, threatening diversity and inclusion efforts that impact faculty recruitment and retention, hampering research, and attacking the academic freedom that is central to postsecondary institutions.
These policies and the many related restrictions adopted in local communities are designed to attack public education as an institution, and the diverse students and communities that attend our public schools.
IDRA’s Education Policy Fellows will continue the work against these harmful policies and push forward a community-centered vision for what safe, equitable and excellent schools look like for all students.
How You Can Help
To support IDRA’s Education Policy Fellows program, or to sponsor a fellow, please click the Donate button below or contact Morgan Craven, J.D., IDRA’s National Director of Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement.
Use the button or link to PayPal here.
Meet IDRA’s Inaugural Class of Education Policy Fellows
On November 2, 2020, IDRA began its first Education Policy Fellows Program. Four fellows gained real-world advocacy experience and training during the 2021 Texas legislative session, because we know state policymakers can make stronger education policy decisions by working with advocates who are connected to impacted communities, particularly people of color. See announcement.
The IDRA Education Policy Fellows Program moved in November 2021 to Georgia for the state’s legislative session in early 2022 (see announcement). The program’s inaugural cycle in Texas operated from November 2020 through July 2021. It was generously supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Trellis Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and in partnership with the John Gardner Public Service Fellowship, facilitated by Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service.
Hear what they have to say in our series of Classnotes Podcast episodes:
- The Future of Education Advocacy and Being Pushy – #217
- Education Policy Fellows Get Things Done in the Suppression Session – #216
- An Inside Look at Advocating with Communities of Color – #215
- Education Advocacy Hinges on Community Collaboration – #214
- Uniting Community Voices in Georgia Policymaking – #225 (coming soon!)