As 2019 comes to an end, leaders are reflecting on this year’s wins and challenges.
Across the Network, champions for students have led efforts to transform education so that every learner can succeed.
And with a new decade approaching, Network advocates are planning to hit the ground running in 2020. An early look at Network members’ 2020 plans shows that many leaders will prioritize efforts in the following policy and advocacy areas:
- Educator policy, including educator diversity and preparation
- College and career readiness, including career pathways and higher education
- Education funding, including funding formulas and fiscal transparency
We asked leaders across the Network to share further details on the work they’re most excited to tackle in 2020 and beyond, from state report card improvements to advancing science-based reading instruction.
What are you most excited to work on in 2020 (and beyond)?
Kelly Caufield, Vice President of Government Affairs, Colorado Succeeds
We know that success in the 21st-century economy will require different skills. Solving the problems of the future will depend on a person’s ability to think critically and quickly adapt to our ever-changing world—to be agile. We imagine a future where all of Colorado’s learners develop transferable competencies that will prepare them for a future we cannot predict and where the education system is responsive to the diverse needs and interests of all learners.
To understand how to drive more agile learning, earlier this year we convened leaders from government, K-12, higher education, and the business community. We asked what barriers exist and what opportunities we need to further explore. In response to what we heard, Colorado Succeeds unveiled a series of papers that explore better ways to enable these dynamic policy conditions—Agility Explained: Achieving Vision 2030 Through Policy. One idea presented here will be a top focus for the 2020 legislative session.
David Miyashiro, Executive Director, HawaiiKidsCAN
2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year for HawaiiKidsCAN! We have a number of policy priorities, including improving access to innovative educational options; working to ensure free FAFSA completion assistance for all Hawaii graduating seniors; incentivizing schools to focus industry certification programs on high-demand, high-earning careers; incentivizing schools to adopt a trauma-informed approach to student learning and support; growing the pipeline of quality school leaders and identifying an alternative route to certification for school leaders; and launching a statewide campaign to close the achievement gap by 2030.
We’ve already engaged a number of key stakeholders and partners around this work, and we’re excited for the opportunity to advance initiatives that address current and future needs for Hawaii.
David Mansouri, President and CEO, Tennessee SCORE
I’m looking forward to 2020 going down in history as the year Tennessee took serious steps to end our literacy crisis. SCORE sees opportunities to advance science-based reading instruction with new policies and high-quality instructional materials as every district in the state adopts new English language arts curriculum.
SCORE recently expanded our mission and are now focused on driving the change needed to transform education so students are ensured of success from when they enter kindergarten through when they embark on their careers. In 2020, I am excited SCORE will really begin to advance in this new work with a focus on better aligning K-12 education and postsecondary education to support students in attaining the degrees and industry credentials they need for rewarding careers.
Chad Aldis, Vice President for Ohio Policy and Advocacy, Thomas B. Fordham Institute-Ohio
Education advocacy in Ohio typically follows a regular pattern. Odd years are dominated by the biennial budget process and endless education policy debate within the halls of the Statehouse. Even years, like 2020, are harder to predict but generally have only a smattering of legislative activity as lawmakers prepare for fall elections. Nonetheless, we’re excited about a couple of opportunities we might get to advance (and protect) good education policy during the next year.
First, a legislative committee is currently meeting to discuss ways to improve Ohio’s state report card. While the report card can certainly be improved, we’ll likely be fighting a defensive effort as foes of accountability and transparency use these deficiencies and the negative public opinion toward testing to attempt to significantly weaken the report card. This has major implications in Ohio as report card grades determine eligibility for vouchers, prescribe when districts are subject to state takeover, control where new charter schools can open, and impact charter closure and authorizer evaluations.
Lauren Morando Rhim, Executive Director, National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools
The Center had a very busy 2019. While we were active on many fronts, three of our 2019 accomplishments—our policy team’s growth, our data team’s release of our third analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), Key Trends in Special Education in Charter Schools 2015-2016, and our collaboration with the Center for Reinventing Education (CRPE) on Seizing the Opportunity, Educating Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools—have set the stage for a busy and exciting 2020.
Our CRDC report offers trend analyses of both district and charter schools at the national and state levels in the areas of enrollment, placement, and discipline while introducing a new focus on enrollment by gender and race, the impact of a charter’s legal status on enrollment and educational environment, and the growth of specialized charter schools. The interactive data visualization tool included with our report allows a closer analysis of state level data and trends. In 2020, we plan to release additional thematic briefs addressing several areas of focus from the report, enabling us to engage in deeper analysis of the data and what it means for students with disabilities.