2022 Eddies Awards: Best Collaboration

The Eddies—annual, advocate-nominated and voted awards—feature outstanding policy and advocacy wins from the past year.

This Eddies category features coalitions of leaders and organizations who worked together to achieve a significant impact for students and families. Working in coalition can be incredibly powerful—and incredibly challenging.  This category honors the hard work of coalitions that organized artfully to respond to unique opportunities or challenges in their states and communities, contributed to a policy win, and inspired others to take up similar efforts. Leaders and organizations in this category not only advanced or protected critical policy to impact students—they did it in partnership and across lines of difference. 

See a complete list of 2022 nominees in all Eddies categories. Staff at PIE Network members and partner organizationscheck your inbox for a link to vote in each category. Don’t see it? Email [email protected].

Best Collaboration Finalists

Best Collaboration Honorable Mentions

FINALISTS

Advance Illinois, Teach Plus Illinois, Educators for Excellence-Chicago, Stand for Children Illinois, Illinois Network of Charter Schools, & Kids First Chicago

Strengthening and Diversifying Illinois Educator Pipeline

This collaboration was a multi-year effort by many to successfully restructure and increase funding for investments to support strengthening and diversifying Illinois educator pipeline, including Illinois’ anchor scholarship program to support more candidates of color entering and staying in the teaching profession. The coalition successfully advocated for diversity policies, with an increased investment of $3.6M, including: the restructuring and expansion of Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) scholarships (from $1.9M to $4.2M), updating MTI eligibility to include high school students of color who completed education CTE “pathway” program/certificate, raising the annual award amount per teacher, and creating a set aside for bilingual teaching candidates. Other policy changes include the investment of $1M to establish Illinois Affinity Groups Network to support educators of color, $400k for Educators Rising, and increased transparency around retention of diverse teachers on the Illinois Report Card.

A key component driving Illinois’ educator pipeline work is the Educator Pipeline Group (EPG) of 55+ partners and growing (includes several PIE members, state agencies; civil rights, advocacy and teacher voice organizations; unions; higher education; district leaders; teachers). EPG is a forum by which we can mobilize coalitions and engage partners willing to move on specific issues, and allowed the collaboration to quickly move on a policy development/policy action that was data-informed, research-informed and targeted a significant need in our state. 

Colorado Succeeds, ExcelinEd, DFER CO

$100 Million Investment in Colorado’s future workforce leveraged through federal stimulus dollars

In its 2021 legislative session, Colorado established a taskforce to determine how to invest $100 million in one-time federal stimulus dollars to improve college and career pathways. To support this goal, Colorado Succeeds, DFER and ExcelinEd, and other key state and national partners, collaborated with policymakers to provide in-depth briefings and discussions with taskforce members on integrating data, high-quality programs and local workforce needs in their decision-making processes. This partnership, across multiple business partners and other advocacy partners, including student-facing organizations, led to the drafting and enactment of five bold bipartisan bills in the 2022 legislative session that put timely workforce data into the hands of students and educators and provided incentives for employers to support work-based learning, invest in talent and create flexible paths from career training to college degrees.

Specifically, this package of legislative initiatives authorized a $91 million fund to create the state’s first-ever “Regional Talent Development Initiative Grant” to fund innovative regional partnerships across school districts, higher education, and industry focused on industries experiencing significant workforce challenges. In addition, legislation creating a new statewide student success data system passed, which will include both postsecondary and workforce success measures like employment and earnings as well as data on non-traditional students, including transfer students. With this additional information we will better understand the pathways of all students. Legislation also passed to support more stackable credential pathways in high-need, high-demand, high-value fields, including $1.8 million for non-degree credential programs. Finally, this coalition supported an effort to continue to blur the lines between high school, college, and career preparation by creating a state taskforce to focus on early college high schools that reimagine the connections between high school, postsecondary success and career readiness. Recommendations expected in 2022 and 2023 will help to sustain the important work and political momentum of this coalition.

Mississippi First & Teach Plus Mississippi

Teacher Pay Raise

Earlier this year, Mississippi passed what is considered to be the largest teacher pay raise in our state’s history: as a result of House Bill 530, Mississippi teachers received an average raise of $5,151 going into the 2022-2023 school year. The new statewide salary schedule increases the average starting salary to surpass the southeastern regional average, implements immediate yearly step raises, and also provides a raise for teaching assistants. Over two years in the making, this success resulted from a collaborative effort between Mississippi First and Teach Plus Mississippi to center teacher voices and experiences in the conversation around how to address the state’s critical teacher shortage.

This effort goes back to 2020. Prior to the 2021 legislative session, Mississippi First published Nothing in The Pipes: Educator Crisis in Mississippi, a report that included policy recommendations and teacher stories, collected in partnership with Teach Plus Mississippi. The research findings in the report fueled the initial commitment the legislature made to teacher pay raises. Though legislators passed a modest $1,000 raise, it was not enough. To continue building the case for a meaningful teacher pay raise, Mississippi First conducted a comprehensive survey of Mississippi teachers to better understand financial well-being, policy preferences, and motivations for leaving the profession. In the Fall of 2021, we surveyed 6,496 teachers (1 in 6 teachers statewide!) to establish the state’s most comprehensive resource for understanding Mississippi’s critical teacher shortage.Using the subsequent research findings and a contact list we created of over 30,000 teachers across the state, TeachPlus Mississippi and Mississippi First could build out advocacy strategies to mobilize Mississippi teachers and send a clear message to the legislature. Legislative leaders soon committed themselves to provide a substantial raise, but the work was not finished: when the resulting bill found itself on the chopping block near the end of the legislative session, we leveraged our list of over 30,000 Mississippi teachers to communicate to legislators that teachers needed this pay raise to enable them to stay in the classroom. Utilizing our email list allowed Mississippi First and Teach Plus Mississippi to effectively connect with teachers to provide a call to action that ultimately moved the pay raise across the finish line, ensuring a historic win for Mississippi teachers!

PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education), DC Charter Alliance, DFER DC

DC Students Succeed

The D.C. Students Succeed (DCSS) coalition is a partnership of more than 40 community organizations, schools, and allied groups. DCSS members believe families must be able to choose the public school that meets their unique needs, education leaders need flexibility to do their best work, and students always come first–especially Black and Brown students. 

Through a coordinated media and advocacy strategy that leveraged the unique voices and strengths of its members, DCSS notched more than a dozen major wins in DC’s FY23 budget including:

  • a historic 5.9% increase in per-student funding, 
  • a new poverty-concentration funding weight providing high-need schools >$10M annually, 
  • increased rates for mental health clinicians by 33 percent, 
  • annual increases in charter facilities funding,
  • inclusion of charter & traditional public school educators in DC’s Employer Assisted Housing Program, 
  • $15.3 million expansion of Out-of-School-Time grants, and 
  • 3 vital new studies on funding adequacy, school boundaries, & mental health services. 

This “big tent” coalition works to center the public education narrative squarely on equity, students and community, and away from the usual political divisiveness. As a result, media interest in the campaign was robust with positive coverage in the Washington Post, local TV, and more, driving DCSS’s advocacy.

Additional partners: D.C. Students Succeed Coalition members

TennesseeCAN, Tennessee SCORE, Tennesseans for Student Success, The Education Trust in Tennessee, ExcelinEd, Tennessee Charter School Center

Coalition For Tennessee Education Funding Reform (TISA)

A politically diverse coalition of education partners advocated for a new funding formula that better serves Tennessee students. Working together, Tennessee SCORE, TennesseeCAN, The Education Trust in Tennessee, Tennesseans For Student Success, Tennessee Charter School Center, and ExcelinEd helped pass the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA), Tennessee’s new K-12 funding formula. Coalition members leveraged relationships with leaders and stakeholders to develop and build support for a shared set of reform principles to the 30-year-old resource-based formula. Organizing early around a core set of objectives and priorities, the coalition was unified in its advocacy on the proposal and through constant communication with the administration was able to weigh tradeoffs between funding reform and other legislative priorities, strategize on legislator engagement, and influence and support the legislative outcome. Tennessee now has a formula centered on student need that will invest an additional $1 billion in recurring state funds in K-12 education and advance key priorities to improve student opportunity and outcomes. Core to the coalition’s collaboration was alignment on key funding reform principles – grounded in rigorous data analysis, financial modeling, and research – while each member pursued additional policy priorities that reflected their organizational goals. TISA passed on a bipartisan basis in April 2022, reflecting the coalition’s diversity.

Teach Plus & Center for Black Educator Development

Increasing Teacher Diversity in PA

While our nation’s students are continually more diverse and multicultural, our teaching workforce does not reflect this reality. In Pennsylvania, only 6% of educators are people of color, compared to 36% of students, and teacher certifications have declined by two-thirds in the past decade. As students voice their need for teachers who look like them, solutions are urgent. Over the past two years, Teach Plus and the Center for Black Educator Development, along with partners at Research for Action and the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium, have taken this issue from one that most policymakers, journalists, and members of the public didn’t even know to one that is a bipartisan priority in Harrisburg. Because of Teach Plus-CBED efforts, students and teachers will benefit from:

  • Legislation that creates youth pathways into teaching (dual enrollment & CTE), 
  • Data transparency that highlights gaps and progress towards educator diversity, 
  • Multiple new educator recruitment grant programs,
  • Fewer barriers to certification that previously kept excellent educators out of our classrooms, 
  • A new Chief Talent Officer role at PDE dedicated to educator recruitment and retention,
  • New teacher certification regulations that require future educators be trained in culturally relevant and sustaining education using competencies we helped develop,
  • A new educator workforce strategy, which incorporates many of our specific recommendations and explicitly prioritizes educator diversity, and
  • A new statewide coalition, the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium, to support these efforts.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

League of Education Voters, Open Doors for Multicultural Families, OneAmerica, Washington State Coalition for Language Access

Language Access in Schools

One of the biggest wins for families across Washington state this past legislative session was the legislature’s commitment to increasing language access in K-12 schools. The passage of House Bill 1153 ensures that multicultural and English-language learner families have tools to effectively communicate and engage with teachers, administrators, and other school staff. The bill requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington State School Directors’ Association to develop language access technical assistance programs and a model policy for effective implementation at schools, it provides technical training and credentialing to interpreters in education and special education settings, and it also mandates the data collection of languages spoken by students’ families. LEV partnered statewide with students, community representatives, and community-based organizations leading language access work this session, such as Open Doors for Multicultural Families, OneAmerica, school interpreters, and the Washington State Coalition for Language Access, and we helped galvanize individuals to send nearly 10,000 emails to legislators on this issue through our action alerts, social media channels, and a statewide LEVinar that featured students, interpreters, partner CBOs, and HB 1153’s prime sponsor. Ultimately, this win strengthens culturally responsive family engagement across districts and improves multicultural families’ ability to be active partners in IEP and 504 planning meetings. It also especially helps students with disabilities whose families speak languages other than English advocate for their interests and feel valued at their school.

myFutureNC, John M. Belk Endowment, North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority

North Carolina First in FAFSA

The coalition of myFutureNC and partners including the John M. Belk Endowment and the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority set out to increase North Carolina’s completion rate for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Working collaboratively, the coalition launched the FAFSA Tracker tool to simplify and support FAFSA completion by providing schools with targeted data. Upon proving the tool’s effectiveness, the coalition secured permanent state funding for the FAFSA Tracker. Since inception, the coalition has seen North Carolina’s FAFSA completion rate rise above the national average, and the state’s completion rate now ranks 18thin the nation, a significant step toward meeting the state’s ambitious educational attainment goal of 2 million North Carolinians ages 25-44 with a postsecondary degree or credential by 2030.

This coalition’s work highlights the importance of cross-sector leadership. While state agencies play a vital role in elevating awareness of issues and in linking resources to individuals and families, private and nonprofit partners can act alongside systems to incentivize, study, and improve upon outcomes.

The coalition’s extraordinary achievements resulted from constant and open communication across sectors—something worth emulating no matter the context.

RedefinEd Atlanta & GeorgiaCAN

Goals and Guardrails Policy Campaign

We passed the Goals and Guardrails policy through the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Board of Education (BOE). This is the first time in my experience with APS over the past 22 years where the BOE has set true academic achievement goals and targets (in literacy, math, post-graduation preparedness, and college and career readiness) to hold themselves accountable. The BOE also set a series of guardrails that the district is required to measure against in the categories of:

  • equity,
  • stakeholder engagement for significant decisions,
  • not allowing or fostering a culture of fear or intimidation, and
  • setting a timeline by which schools must act to support student growth by implementing a high-impact intervention.

We partnered with grassroots and grassroots organizations (Atlanta Thrive, LAPPS, and GACAN) to mobilize parent support for this policy change. In addition, we:

  • generated media coverage to keep the narrative around accountability and urgency top of mind,
  • informed grasstops leaders of the opportunity through one-to-one engagement,
  • supported parent and stakeholder engagement at school board meetings and through phone banking strategies, and
  • worked with school board member allies to draft the policy together.

Ultimately, this win was a culmination of our three-year partnership efforts. It has since prompted work and discussions around piloting innovation schools or zones in the district and the school board shifting to a student outcomes-based governance model. The updated governance model design is to ensure that the BOE consistently focuses on student achievement in their future board meetings and that they monitor progress against the goals and guardrails. In addition, we have grown a coalition of more than 20 community-based nonprofit partners and allies to serve as a “watchdog” group to ensure that the BOE is accountable for implementing the goals and guardrails.

In terms of emulation, I think this is an example of how coalitions that are sharing power and grounded in trust can work in partnership together on mutually agreed upon goals to build the influence, expertise and allyship needed to stay the course and ultimately get to a win. There were many progressive stages, strategies and milestones that I think could be informative on how we got this passed.

Rodel, Michael Bloomberg Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, ASA Foundation, Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee, virtually all of Delaware’s public high schools and higher education partners, and Governor John Carney’s Administration

Career Pathways 2.0

Our initial work on career pathways (2017-21) involved a massive public-private partnership that led to the growth of this work from 27 students to 20,000. Harvard’s Bob Schwartz called it the “best pathways system in the US”.

In fall 2021, Rodel worked with the state and a mix of local and national funders to launch Pathways 2.0. We helped catalyze a $15.8 million public-private expansion of Delaware’s Pathways program that includes more than 20 local, national and federal funders and links education and workforce development. This three year plan is a bold, multi-faceted blueprint that will expand our work to middle school, redesign our vocational schools, broaden our reach to more high schoolers, and help upskill and reskill adults in high growth sectors like IT and healthcare.

Proposed impact by 2024:

  • Middle school pathways standards to be piloted with 6,000 middle schoolers (and ultimately scaled statewide) to help them make smarter choices;
  • Number of high schoolers in pathways will increase from 20,000 to 32,000, from 50 percent of high schoolers to 80 percent.
  • Doubling number of employers offering work-based learning opportunities from 100 to more than 200.

The Education Trust-MidWest & Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity

Advancing Equitable Funding in Michigan School Aid Budget

In July 2022, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law the largest school aid budget in state history: $19.6 billion, a 15% increase over last year. This year’s budget also prioritizes spending for traditionally underserved students and is the most equitable budget the state has passed in several years, including:

  • Ensuring at-risk students receive an extra 11.5% in funding ($1,052 per at-risk student)
  • Eliminating the auto-cut language that allowed at-risk funding to be tapped when the state budget is in a deficit
  • Increasing funding for students with disabilities by $312 million
  • Increasing funding for English Learners by 5%

The Education Trust-Midwest (ETM) is a backbone organization to the Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity (MPEO), which has been integral to advancing equitable funding over the past two years. The MPEO is a coalition of civil rights, social justice, civic and business leaders working to promote educational equity for all Michigan students, especially the most underserved. The racial makeup of the MPEO is diverse, comprised of Black, Latino, Arab and White leaders. The MPEO is nonpartisan and is represented by Democrat, Republican and Independent members.

Two major leadership voices of the MPEO are Alice G. Thompson (Chair of the Education Committee, Detroit Branch NAACP, and Chief Executive Officer, BFDI Educational Services, Inc.), a Black Democrat female, and Mike Jandernoa (Founder, 42 North Partners), a White Republican male. Alice G. Thompson shared with Governor Whitmer (a Democrat) ETM’s data of the auto-cut language that had been in Michigan’s state budget and asked her to support its removal, while Mike Jandernoa shared this same data with the State Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House (Mike Shirkey and Jason Wentworth, respectively, both Republicans) and asked them to support the removal of the auto-cut language.


The Education Trust-New York & ReachNY

Aiming Higher: How investing in postsecondary education attainment will put New York State on the path to a bright future

The Education Trust-NY worked in collaboration with the REACH-NY network of civil rights, student-serving, veteran, education, and civic organizations to secure the adoption of a statewide attainment goal for New York. The network’s strategy was rooted in data-driven analysis of inequities in postsecondary outcomes from New Yorkers across racial groups and strong arguments of how a statewide attainment goal is crucial to the state’s economic recovery after the pandemic. Members of the network promoted the campaign on social media and in meetings with elected officials, including the governor and members of the state legislature. In a true victory, Gov. Kathy Hochul included the attainment goal that two thirds of all New Yorkers would earn a postsecondary degree or credential by 2030, and invested significant resources into supporting students on their path to and through college.

Thomas B. Fordham Institute & Democrats for Education Reform

Building Bridges: Finding Common Ground on Emerging Issues in K–12 Education

This year, in collaboration with Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), the Fordham Institute kicked off a brand new coalition to bring groups across the ed reform movement back together. The “Building Bridges” coalition aims to depolarize existing conversations and find common ground on race and equity issues in education to create a more positive agenda that can be picked up by state policymakers across the ideological spectrum. It aims to advance equity and excellence for students of all backgrounds to close racial achievement gaps that prevent students from reaching their full potential and participating fully in our society. The diverse group (comprised of many PIE Network member organizations) has met once already in 2022, with another convening planned for this fall. Over the course of six total meetings, the group will finalize a list of policy priorities for the next phase of education reform (What’s our North Star in education reform? What binds us together across left, right, and center?) It is a huge win to have motivated and influential individuals from a wide range of diverse organizations, from across the aisle, come together to have discussions about areas of common ground so we can begin to make progress in so many areas, and as we recover from the pandemic.

See a complete list of 2022 nominees in all Eddies categories.

Anna McDaniel-Wyatt

Anna McDaniel-Wyatt

Analyst, Communications & Member Engagement