2023 Eddies Awards: Best Collaboration

The Eddies—annual, advocate-nominated and voted awards—feature strategic advocacy that is driving impactful policy change.

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 2023 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

American Federation for Children (AFC), ExcelinEd, Ohio Excels, Thomas B. Fordham Institute-Ohio – Passing a Transformational Budget in Ohio: Investments in Charter Schools, Early Literacy, Vouchers & CTE

Non-Network partners: School Choice Ohio

Ohio’s biennial budget represents a commitment to both improving and transforming the state’s education system. Fordham Ohio, Ohio Excels, ExcelinEd, School Choice Ohio, AFC, and a host of other partners collaborated to identify, prioritize and advocate for change on behalf of students. Leaders in Ohio were heavily influenced by the broad and influential coalition.

This transformational budget includes:
•Brings charter school funding closer to parity by increasing the Quality Community Schools Fund, providing $650 per pupil to all charter schools, and investing $175 million for charter school facility improvements.
•Invests $160M in early literacy aligned with the science of reading.
•Provides $43M for teacher professional development/training.
•Provides $18M for literacy coaches.
•Bans outdated three-cueing reading instruction and reading programs that are not grounded in the science of reading.
•Invests $64M to provide schools with high-quality literacy instructional materials.
•Expands the state’s EdChoice Scholarship Program so all students are eligible for some level of voucher scholarship, prioritizing those with the highest need and investing $1B in the program over the next two years.
•Invests $28M for CTE programs. Prioritizes postsecondary success with a new division for CTE programs within the newly named Department of Workforce and Development.

ConnCAN, Educators for Excellence-Connecticut, FaithActs for Education, School & State Finance Project, Connecticut Charter Schools Association – Education Justice Now Coalition

Connecticut students will experience a historic $150M educational investment due to a hard-fought, three-year campaign by the Education Justice Now Coalition. This policy reaches every public school across the state, representing Connecticut’s largest K-12 increase in a decade. The Education Justice Now Coalition achieved this in a year when the Governor initially sought to flat-fund education. Students, especially Black, brown and low-income students, will have more resources to support learning, programming, and critical staffing. The coalition pushed to allocate funds equitably based on Connecticut’s weighted-funding system – a formula the coalition strengthened in 2021. As a result, Connecticut can begin to address its deeply unjust $550M racial-funding gap. The Education Justice Now Coalition was among the broadest, most collaborative, and most successful campaigns in Connecticut history. The core consisted of five education-focused organizations with different skills, strengths, and political bases. The coalition brought in more than 180 organizations, legislators, municipal leaders and individuals in support. Every political and geographic corner of the state was represented. The coalition stayed engaged with one another through rapidly changing political landscapes. Never wavering, the organizations took significant time creating the norms and trust necessary to persist through challenges. The coalition’s work transformed Connecticut’s education narrative. As a key and ongoing priority, leaders have led meaningful conversations about how Connecticut structures education, clearing the way for future progress.

DFER Massachusetts, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, National Parents Union – Massachusetts, Educators for Excellence-Boston, Massachusetts Public Charter School Association, Teach Plus Massachusetts – Voices for Academic Equity Coalition: Toward a Better MCAS

Earlier this year, 11 organizations and 2 community leaders—including Education Reform Now Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Educators for Excellence-Boston, Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, National Parents Union and Teach Plus—came together to form the Voices for Academic Equity Coalition to change the narrative on annual, summative assessments in Massachusetts. The statewide assessment is the only objective measure for educators, families and policymakers to know where students are excelling and where they need additional support to meet grade level expectations. In the face of a potential ballot initiative aimed at removing the assessments as a graduation requirement, the coalition released a report and hosted a webinar detailing the value of the state test (the MCAS) and provided eight recommendations for how the state could improve the assessment to mitigate challenges and make it a more effective tool for all stakeholders. The recommendations received coverage in 13 outlets across the state, igniting a pro-equity perspective that had largely been missing. As the Boston Globe noted, “This coalition understands the value the MCAS brings as a uniform statewide standard of assessment but wants to make the test less intimidating for students, even while rendering their MCAS results a more timely tool for helping individual students.” Since the report was issued, we anticipate that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education — in its RFR for a new test vendor — will include one or more of the committee’s recommendations. The coalition members will continue their partnership beyond the MCAS, with the MassCore Standards as their next area of focus.

myFutureNC – NC Workforce Credentials

Non-Network partners: North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina Department of Commerce, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Office of Governor Roy Cooper

Over the last several years, myFutureNC has facilitated stakeholders from across the education and workforce development sectors to form the North Carolina Workforce Credentials Advisory Council. This coalition has worked to identify non-degree credentials offered throughout the state that are industry-valued (i.e., the credentials lead to employment in high-demand, high-growth fields that pay family-sustaining wages). To date, the Council has identified more than 150 such credentials. State gubernatorial and legislative leadership responded by creating the North Carolina Short-Term Workforce Development Grant Program to offer no-cost pathways to industry-valued credentials using federal G.E.E.R. funds and state appropriations. This year, through the collaborative advocacy of myFutureNC and its partners, these grants are set to be codified and to receive recurring funding in North Carolina’s budget. This exceptional collaborative impact resulted from the Advisory Council’s members—including the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the state’s community colleges, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, business and industry, and the Office of the Governor—who dedicated time and resources to develop criteria for examining industry-valued credentials. While each partner is responsive to its own stakeholders, this collaborative effort underscores a shared recognition that driving educational attainment and economic growth are best accomplished through coming together and leveraging each partner’s unique expertise and influence.

National Parents Union, Educators for Excellence-Minnesota, EdAllies, Great MN Schools – The Minnesota READ Act: Supports for Students Not Reading Proficiently in 3rd Grade + Teacher Training on Science of Reading

Non-Network partners: Decoding Dyslexia MN, MN Department of Education, Education MN, Minnesota Business Partnership, and Education Evolving

When Minnesota state test results revealed that nearly half of public school students can’t read at grade level, National Parents Union (NPU) took up the call to action and started organizing groups to work together. Bringing together more than 120 organizations, NPU fought for the adoption of a curriculum based on the Science of Reading. This shared fight saw parents and organizations bringing their stories to the state house, backed with data to help write a bill so Minnesota’s children would have a new curriculum to follow the science of reading, and included teacher training, funding and accountability processes. Three tireless years of relentless work culminated into passage of the READ Act which was recently signed by Governor Walz. Guaranteeing 1.3 million children in Minnesota will read proficiently by third grade, The Read Act holds schools accountable with actionable steps for parents if students aren’t on grade level. The bill also includes $90 million in direct funding for professional development to teach educators how to successfully deliver curriculum based on the science of reading. Because of the success in Minnesota, NPU has taken the fight to Massachusetts, with plans to expand to all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Parents Ampliyfing Voices in Education (PAVE), DC Charter School Alliance, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) DC – #DCStudentsSucceed Coalition Rally for Equitable Funding and Supports

The D.C. Students Succeed (DCSS) is a partnership of more than 40 community organizations, charter schools, and advocacy 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.  

Despite the threat of a $1.7B budget deficit for DC, DCSS members successfully advocated for significant funding to support a more equitable school system, including:

• $145M increase in per student funding (+5.05% per pupil and 0.2 increase to the at-risk funding weight)
• $74M for public charter school teacher pay increases, $15M above the Mayor’s proposed level
• $15.3M in new funding for OST grants, Department of Parks and Recreation, and Summer Youth Employment Program
• Inclusion of public charter school teachers in the Employer Assisted Housing Program that provides up to $10,000 in assistance
• New funding for structured literacy trainings
• New funding for flexible scheduling for educators
• Bonus payments for early childhood educators to ensure workforce stability
• $1.2 million to create a pipeline of behavioral health specialists by funding a Master of Social Work degree at the University of the District of Columbia

Teach Plus California, TNTP, The Education Trust-West – California Education Diversity Action Network

Non-Network partners: Latinos for Education, UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools, One Million Teachers of Color Campaign, and the Association of California Community Colleges Teacher Education Programs (ACCCTEP)

Despite years of effort and investment, California leaders have made limited progress in fostering a diverse, sustainable educator workforce. This catalyzed the creation of the California Education Diversity Action Network. This diverse coalition set out to craft a comprehensive vision by convening key stakeholders– educators, advocates, higher education representatives, policy influencers, and funders– in Sacramento at the Building Bridges Summit. The gathering anchored participants in teacher-led discussions, using networked problem-solving to identify innovative solutions to advance educator diversity in California. While California is full of leading organizations and coalitions engaged in advancing educator diversity forward, the California Education Diversity Action Network adds unique value to this landscape by centering educators of color and multilingual educators in its work, bridging their expertise with the decision-makers who shape systems. The coalition continues its work to develop a state vision and the impact of this work is just beginning. But even in the 2023-24 California State Budget, we were able to protect against cuts to key programs like grow your own teacher pathway grants, and also saw policy changes to improve the impact of existing programs, like increasing stipends for teacher residents to $40,000.

Teach Plus Illinois, Stand for Children IL, IL Network of Charter Schools, Kids First Chicago, Educators for Excellence-Chicago – Racism-Free Schools Act

After a 2021 federal report found harassment in schools increasing, half of those incidents based on race, and 1.6 million children targeted by hate speech annually, a politically diverse coalition of 36 partners including network members Teach Plus Illinois, Stand for Children Illinois, Kids First Chicago, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, and Educators for Excellence Chicago conceived the Racism-Free Schools Act to prevent racial harassment, train educators to recognize and report it, and ensure students and families know their rights.

Coalition members leveraged relationships to build support and, through dozens of stakeholder meetings, addressed the concerns of opponents who believed current protections were strong enough while preserving core principles that protected students and teachers. The coalition drew on the strengths of constituent organizations to make the case to key legislators, including identifying students and teachers to testify about the need for the bill and why current protections weren’t working.

In today’s contentious climate it’s difficult to find agreement on issues of race, but this campaign cut through the culture wars to address real problems students face every day. Thanks to the coalition’s diverse membership and connections, the bill passed with strong bipartisan support and a unanimous final vote.

Anna McDaniel-Wyatt

Anna McDaniel-Wyatt

Analyst, Communications & Member Engagement