PROCESS and PROTEST: Promising Practices
1. REPRESENTATION: Reach the Unreached
Prioritize the needs, participation, and leadership of communities that have historically been marginalized and underserved by political decision-making processes.
Connecticut used demographic data: After analyzing internal data regarding the demographic profile of respondents to its online surveys, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) made a deliberate effort to refocus its efforts on obtaining input from a broader, more racially and ethnically representative cross-section of its educational stakeholder community. CSDE reached out to community-based and school-based partners to find more locally-based “ambassadors” and created partnerships designed to improve consultation with these groups, particularly in communities with strong ties to places of worship, neighborhood organizations, and local businesses.
Vermont distributed leadership: The Field Input Team (FIT) was a team of teachers, administrators, policy groups, student advocacy groups, and higher education groups convened by the The Vermont Agency of Education (VT-AOE) to advise on stakeholder input in the development of Vermont’s consolidated ESSA plan. VT-AOE used stakeholder input to shape the membership of FIT and to inform its outreach efforts on specific topics. For example, VT-AOE frequently consulted with FIT to determine whether consultation on a specific question required input from a broader community of stakeholders, and to determine which additional, specific groups and individuals should be consulted.
Oregon offered carrots: As it disburses funds to schools and districts in need of improvement, the Oregon Department of Education has decided to prioritize schools and districts that “demonstrate a commitment to improving schools through partnership, authentic stakeholder engagement and the use of evidence to drive improvement.” This is one element of a broader initiative Oregon is planning in support of meaningful stakeholder engagement as a driver of continuous improvement.
Maine codified their values: The Maine Department of Education has included family and community engagement as a discrete element of the state’s school improvement plans.
Room for Growth For All States:
Facilitate a culture of leadership in politically underrepresented communities: To meaningfully advance the interests of equity, workgroups and advisory committees should not only affirmatively prioritize the interests and needs of historically underserved and underrepresented groups, but ensure a critical mass of individuals from these communities are counted among their leadership.
- Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders
(Council of Chief State School Officers and the Aspen Institute | October 2016)
- Strong Voices Advocating for Equity and Achievement
(Students Can’t Wait | 2016)
- Moving Toward Equity: Stakeholder Engagement Guide
(Center on Great Teachers & Leaders at the American Institute for Research | January 2015)
Additional examples of promising practices from states with recently submitted state plans (September and October, 2017) are forthcoming.