The Eddies—annual, advocate-nominated and voted awards—feature outstanding policy and advocacy wins from the past year.
This Eddies category features grassroots policy and advocacy campaigns at the local level that responded to community needs, grew from community power, and transformed opportunities for students and families in their community.
See a complete list of 2022 nominees in all Eddies! categories. Staff at PIE Network members and partner organizations, check your inbox for a link to vote in each category. Don’t see it? Email [email protected].
Power to the People Campaign Finalists
- GO Public Schools Oakland: Expanding School Board Voting Rights to Immigrant Families
- HawaiiKidsCAN: Lanai Ohana Pods and parent network
- Innovate Public Schools: Power to the Parents: California Families Advocate for Tutoring Supports
- Kids First Chicago: Radically Inclusive Stakeholder Engagement to Reimagine a District’s Accountability Policy
- NewMexicoKidsCAN: A Wave of Progress for the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education
- PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education): #ParentPriorities #OSTWorks
- National Parents Union: National Parents Union Appointed to New US Dept of Ed Advisory Council
- Stand for Children Colorado: Increasing Literacy Training and Accessibility
GO Public Schools Oakland
Expanding School Board Voting Rights to Immigrant Families
GO Public Schools Oakland has been working in collaboration with immigrant families in Oakland to advocate for their right to vote in school board elections. Right now, under current law, over 13,000 parents of children that attend Oakland public schools are denied a political voice in decisions that impact their children’s education. In response, GO Oakland assembled a Campaign Action Team composed of Oakland non-citizen parents and provided tools, training, and a platform to advocate for their right to vote. The GO Oakland team created and led a citywide, cross-sector coalition to successfully lobby City Council into adding a measure to the November ballot that, if passed, would allow non-citizen parents to vote in school board elections. On June 21st, City Council approved the measure to appear on the November 2022 ballot. GO Oakland also ensured that the resolution language was inclusive of district and public charter parents. This work towards expanding voting rights to non-citizens in Oakland is at the intersection of education equity, immigrant rights, and is creating a stronger democracy where all people and voices are truly represented and heard.
Lanai Ohana Pods and parent network
HawaiiKidsCAN jumped into action when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The rural island of Lanai, which has no stoplights or hospitals and just a single school, was especially impacted. Even before the pandemic, the school was facing accreditation probation, with just 18% of students proficient in math and 36% in language arts. Wanting to respond as quickly as possible to the challenges facing kids and families, we were proud to work with community members and families to launch the Lanai Empowered ‘Ohana Network (LEON) and Lanai Ohana Pods in 2021. Overall, our pods pilot was supported by local and national funders and distributed nearly $15,000 to families, and served 140 participants, including 86 students (ages ranging from 16 months to 17 years) and 54 parents. Services included tutoring, school supplies, and supplemental learning materials. The pilot was also the basis of our bill in 2022 that would have provided direct aid microgrants to all local families. Although the bill died on the last day of the conference committee, it was influential in other successful efforts, such as a school supply subsidy program and tax rebates based on income. Moving ahead, we’re building on this network to uplift and empower parents so that they can sustain these efforts into the future and build new choice and advocacy muscles in a community where that doesn’t exist.
Innovate Public Schools
Power to the Parents: California Families Advocate for Tutoring Supports
Following the exacerbation of the achievement gap in California’s public school system after COVID, parents wanted high-quality tutoring for students, especially those who historically lacked access to it. Innovate Public Schools lifted parent voices statewide, supporting their efforts to demand funding, as well as services, across the state. Their hard work paid off and unlocked major funding streams that launched tutoring pilots throughout the state, with a focus on those who need it most.
Innovate parents got deeply engaged in the state budget process:
- Hosted 70 meetings with school, county, and nonprofit leaders
- Sent a policy demand letter to state officials with 25 partner sign-ons
- Met with 30 elected officials
- Held a statewide budget town hall with 500+ attendees
- Secured 600 petition signatures and sent over 1,300 emails to the CA governor and legislators
Through these efforts, we helped win significant new state funding and began launching local pilots:
- $1.8 billion (growing to $5 billion over the next 5 years) for afterschool and summer school enrichment programs targeted at low-income elementary students
- $205 million in additional funds for the Mental Health Student Services Act grant program
- Increased funding for existing afterschool programs from $8.88 to $10.18 per child per day
- Two math programs launched this year: an algebra tutoring program is serving 100 students in San Mateo County and the Peninsula, and a new math tutoring program in partnership with Remind is serving 35 students in San Mateo county
- Parent leaders in San Jose won $2M from the city of San Jose to expand access to high-quality tutoring and enrichment programs for underserved students through a new grant program run by the San Jose Public Library Foundation
- Two tutoring pilots will launch to serve students in Southeast LA (SELA) this year, thanks to funding commitments that parents won from the cities of South Gate and Huntington Park to leverage their Pandemic Recovery dollars.
Kids First Chicago
Radically Inclusive Stakeholder Engagement to Reimagine a District’s Accountability Policy
Chicago Public Schools asked K1C to lead stakeholder engagement for the reimagining of the school accountability framework and policy. K1C has supported the district in leading their most inclusive outreach effort in recent history, developing a Stakeholder Engagement Committee that includes partnerships with “critical friends,” including the Union, Principals Association, Community Groups, parents, students, teachers, and more responsible for rethinking and driving inclusive stakeholder engagement. Efforts to date have reached over 12,000 stakeholders and given them a voice in reshaping the framework and policy. This effort has “opened the system” to many who have traditionally been excluded and, through very intentional facilitation, has reduced the political posturing and positioning that can routinely stall such initiatives. Accountability Redesign is a model for inclusive engagement worth replicating.
A Wave of Progress for the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education
In 2021, NewMexicoKidsCAN ran campaigns to dramatically change the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education. Four of the seven seats were up for election, with no incumbents seeking re-election. If ever there was a window of opportunity to create massive change for New Mexico’s largest school district (which serves 25% of all students in NM), it was now. We worked relentlessly with community partners to find three diverse and strong candidates to run – and we did. The NewMexicoKidsCAN Action Fund recruited and supported a politically diverse group of candidates (1 democrat, 1 independent, and 1 republican) to run, and ultimately win seats on the APS Board. Not only did we pick up three seats on the board, but we did so without playing into the politics of the moment. The campaigns didn’t lean in to masks, critical race theory, vaccines, or other political hot potatoes. Though a risk, we kept our campaigns focused on one thing: improving the quality of education for students and families across our city. This work was only possible through collaboration with diverse stakeholders across the city and over 50 conversations with individuals and groups.
This change on the board has allowed us to work with community partners and funders to financially support the district in hiring a consulting organization to develop a strong strategic plan focused on academic progress – which will be the first time in at least 10 years the district has had a strategic plan. We are also working with our community members and our Changemakers, to support the implementation of the plan and hold the district accountable for results. This is the beginning of a long path of progress for APS and, ultimately, New Mexico.
PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education)
PAVE parents, along with our advocacy and OST provider coalition partners, have been fighting for more Out-of-School Time (OST) Programs since 2017. In meetings with policymakers, on social media, during public hearings, and more, parents highlighted the importance of enrichment/supplemental learning programs that provide a safe space for kids to build relationships and explore their passions while caregivers are at work – and used data to back up their experiences about gaps in access and the return on investment when we get it right. Parents’ early advocacy helped launch the District’s new OST Office and secured millions more in funding to expand access, ensuring OST was included in DC’s vision for education. They were ahead of the curve, as OST programs are now an essential component to recovery amidst the pandemic in addressing learning loss, increasing engagement, and supporting mental health. Last year, parents and partners continued that work, achieving two key goals:
- Increased funding for OST programs by $15.3 million (the largest increase since their first campaign in 2017)
- Secured an updated OST needs assessment to ensure funding is directed to families, programs, and policy solutions communities need most.
Their work has already demonstrated results: more OST seats have already opened up in the District, and PAVE is at the table to inform plans for expansion through the City Tutor Advisory group, and the upcoming OST Needs Assessment for the Deputy Mayor of Education (DME).
National Parents Union
National Parents Union Appointed to New US Dept of Ed Advisory Council
Families’ voices play a critical role in all aspects of education policy and, importantly, in how children will recover from the pandemic. The National Parents Union began engaging directly with the Secretary of Education’s office to provide findings from our national parent poll, to provide feedback on initiatives, and ultimately ensure families were included in important policy conversations and decisions. After 18 months of communicating authentic parent voices to the US Department of Education, in June 2022, Secretary Cordona announced the National Parents & Families Engagement Council to facilitate strong and effective relationships between schools/parents/families & caregivers. Keri Rodrigues of NPU was appointed to the council and NPU was asked to nominate two additional parent advocates. Our nominees were Lakisha Young/Oakland Reach and Ashara Baker/NPU. Parents don’t just have a seat at the table, but are literally building a new table where concerns, perspectives and ideas will not just be sought but actively discussed and integrated into DOE initiatives. In addition to actively participating in Council discussions, NPU will work with the DOE and partners towards a transformative approach for school and family communications/engagement that recognizes families as important partners in student success.
Stand for Children Colorado
Increasing Literacy Training and Accessibility
Since the passage of landmark early literacy legislation, the Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act in 2012, there have been several legislative adjustments to strengthen the policy and ensure educators are prepared to teach students to read using a scientifically backed approach. This year’s Senate Bill 22-004, Evidence-based Training In Science Of Reading: Concerning measures to support evidence-based literacy instruction for students in early grades is one such measure. We deeply believe that policy-making is most effective when the voices of those impacted are at the center of decision-making. When meeting with educators about ways to improve, we heard that education administrators were excluded from the READ Act training, and as such, couldn’t receive the same training and support in best practices in teaching literacy. We also heard from teachers that they needed more in-classroom support, and as such, added an appropriation for reading specialists; all in, the allocation was for more than $300,000 (in addition to the $40M allocated to the READ Act) to ensure that all educators are teaching and effectively implementing the science of reading in our Colorado schools. In committee, we heard from many of these grassroots activists across the state, and the bill passed nearly unanimously in both chambers before heading to the governor’s desk.