What We Do

Advocates for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all California students, particularly those of color and living in poverty.

Equity-Driven Data-Centered Student-Focused

What We Do

  • We identify and analyze data related to the opportunity and achievement gaps separating students of color and low-income students from other California students. We work to expose these gaps and their underlying causes. We translate complex education data into easily understood and actionable information for education advocates.
  • We work directly with schools and districts to understand and evaluate the effectiveness of reform strategies intended to reduce and eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps. We seek real world examples supported by evidence at the district, school, and classroom levels, and we explore ways in which success can be replicated at a scale.
  • We seek to influence policy in California by engaging key education stakeholders, including policymakers, thought leaders, practitioners, community groups, civic organizations, parents, and youth. Our goal is to drive a state and national conversation about how our education system can better serve all students.

We focus on reforms in the following Critical Areas:

Accomplishments

  • We played a key role in helping to pass California’s historic new education finance system, called Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). As policy experts, we developed education finance policy recommendations for the Governor’s staff and key members of the legislature. We were featured in over 50 education finance stories in the top media outlets across the state. With our expertise in community engagement, we led in the formation of a grassroots advocacy campaign called Fair Share 4 Kids that garnered the support of dozens of other key community-based organizations from across the state. As part of this work, we developed a comprehensive campaign website (http://fairshare4kids.org) featuring a broad array of  community and campaign-related tools, including LCFF Explainer Videos; an LCFF Community Guide; LCFF One-Page Information Sheets (in English, Spanish & Chinese); an LCFF “District Funding Data Tool”; and an Electronic Advocacy Letter Writing Tool. Through the website and the campaign’s promotional activities on social media platforms — including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — the Fair Share 4 Kids campaign engaged hundreds of thousands of supporters throughout California in a successful and historic effort to help pass LCFF and reform California’s school funding system.
  • Our research has led to changes in state law in past years as well. In 2005, we published The Hidden Teacher Spending Gap report that displayed broad inequities in funding of low-income schools, resulting in passage of SB 687. This marked an historic first step toward transparency in education spending.
  • We worked with the Superintendent of Public Instruction and other groups to support the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) which was implemented in 2006.
  • Our policy and research reports on teaching effectiveness issues, such as Learning Denied; and Victims of the Churn; made national and state headlines for exposing education inequities and identifying promising solutions.
  • Our unique data resources—Dispelling the Myth in California, Raising the Roof, Hidden Gaps, and the California District Report Cards—have given Californians access to education data that is understandable and user-friendly.
  • As a resource for national, state and local policymakers, we have provided testimony before the California State Legislature and the State Board of Education. Over the years, we have sat on several high profile statewide committees and councils, including the Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence and the Statewide P-16 Council.
  • In 2010, we were among the first to advocate for the removal of language in state law that prevented the linking of teacher and student performance data, and along with the advent of Race to the Top, this language was finally amended through the passage of SB 19.
  • State leaders acknowledged that our California’s Race to the Top: A Road Map for Round Two report helped them develop the strategy for Round Two of the Race to the Top competition. After the state’s failed first round bid, we advocated for the district-driven strategy that was adopted for the second round of Race to the Top. We participated in the working committee that drafted the language for the Great Teachers and Leaders portion in the higher scoring second round application.
  • As education policy experts, we have been quoted in national newspapers such as the New York Times, as well as the top newspapers around the state, including the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and San Diego Union-Tribune. See news stories that mention the Education Trust—West here.
  • Over 1,000,000 students across California have been impacted by our work and technical assistance to schools, districts and community based organizations to ensure that all students are accessing a rigorous college and career readiness “A-G” curriculum