The Eddies—annual, advocate-nominated and voted awards—feature strategic advocacy that is driving impactful policy change.
This Eddies category highlights the necessary work to ensure that breakthrough policy or laws lead to sustained impact. Advocates know passing policy is only the beginning of the work to change outcomes and opportunities for students. This category features implementation work on laws or policies that were passed at least three years ago. Nominations for this award must include specific data showing the impact on outcomes and describe a PIE Network member or partner organization’s involvement in implementation (setting regulations, data monitoring, stakeholder engagement, professional development, etc.). While individual leaders may have changed over time, nominations in this category should reflect sustained advocacy or policy work that PIE Network member or partner organizations have been involved with since the policy or law was passed.
See a complete list of 2023 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].
Best Implementation Finalists
The Arizona School Spending Portal is a first in the nation tool for Arizonans to understand how dollars are spent in schools. In 2017, A for Arizona worked with the Arizona Legislature to craft legislation requiring the state report public schools’ annual financial reports and school level financial data in a transparent fashion. The bill had an enactment date in 2021 so the state would have time to build the system. As A for Arizona worked on implementation, we quickly realized that a simple report from the state on how schools spend money was note enough, we needed a more user friendly option. In 2021, we went back to the legislature to establish the Arizona School Spending Portal, which would stand as its own tool for families, instead of a report on a department website. This tool lets constituents look up any public school in the state to see how their federal, state and local funding is spent. This shows breakdowns on how funding at the site level is being spent and how much is actually spent on the student. A for Arizona lead on focus groups, vendor selection and promoting the tool to families. After it’s launch in 2023, A for Arizona continues to lead on this project in promoting this tool to community members, working closely with agencies and constantly improving the tool to ensure it is the top operating system in the country.
North Carolina is well on its way to disrupting an industrial-model staffing structure that stifles teacher collaboration, limits professional advancement, and deprives students’ access to effective educators. For the past eight years, BEST NC has championed an innovative new approach to school staffing and compensation called Advanced Teaching Roles (ATR). Under ATR, schools implement modern, locally-customized organizational models that elevate effective educators into leadership roles – and pays them more in the process. ATR models are extending the reach of effective teachers to more students, providing meaningful career opportunities for effective teachers, and ensuring embedded professional support for all teachers. Originally established in 2016 as a pilot program, BEST NC has led the way as ATR has been refined and expanded, becoming a permanent part of state statute in 2020 and now implemented in ~20% of North Carolina school districts. Over 1,000 ATR teachers are currently in leadership roles and district demand continues to grow as we move steadily toward statewide implementation. BEST NC is committed to a deliberate, long- haul approach that has demonstrated the effectiveness of ATR. We know this massive cultural shift must happen over many years, as the “coalition of the willing” expands strategically toward statewide adoption.
Arkansas faces severe teacher workforce challenges and university educator preparation programs (EPP) remain, by far, the largest source of new teachers. In 2020, The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) created “Day One Ready”, rigorous new standards for the preparation of teachers. A year later, Forward launched the EPP Design Collaborative, a first-of-its-kind competition to catalyze transformation among university EPPs. Open to all, 16 of the state’s 19 EPPs applied. We accepted a diverse cohort of 8, that engaged in a year-long process, guided by expert national partners. Each EPP created a detailed three-year “transformation plan”, which prioritized robust practical experiences for candidates, deep district partnerships, and increased data capture. We awarded two EPPs “transformation awards” and three years of expert implementation support. All eight – comprising nearly 60% of the total teacher pipeline – continue their transformation efforts. Our work supports implementation of “Day One Ready” and also informed the development of a new EPP accreditation system replacing CAEP. In 2023, the state passed Arkansas LEARNS, which includes many innovative components cultivated within the Collaborative, such as a year-long “residency” for all teacher candidates. Forward was asked by ADE to expand the Collaborative to support implementation efforts in all University EPPs in the state. Learn more here: A New Lesson Plan: Classroom Residencies Help Train Better Teachers and New Approaches to Tackling Big Challenges in Education.
In 2023, Mississippi took a significant step forward in early education with the passage of House Bill 817. This groundbreaking legislation, driven by the efforts of Mississippi First, permanently raised the funding rate for early learning collaboratives (ELCs) to $2,500 per child for full-day programs from $2,150—a $350 increase per child in state funds or about $7,000 per classroom of 20. Mississippi First was deeply involved in every stage of the process, from writing the bill’s language to advocating steadfastly until its passage. The journey of implementing House Bill 817 has been both challenging and rewarding, given the obstacles faced in previous legislative sessions. However, through perseverance and collaboration with legislators, pre-K champions, and other key leaders, Mississippi First ensured that collaboratives have the necessary funds to operate.
Since the passage of the Early Learning Collaborative Act in 2013, Mississippi First’s leadership has led to over 36 high-quality collaboratives serving 6,800 students—a remarkable 283% increase from its first year of implementation. The state’s investment in the program has also grown significantly, from $3M annually for the first six years to $24M. This increased funding has expanded access to high-quality early learning opportunities to 25% of Mississippi’s four-year-olds, a goal set by Mississippi First to be achieved by 2025. In addition to leading the legislative charge, Mississippi First worked tirelessly to explain the tax credit to collaboratives and donors, resulting in millions of dollars in donations from individuals and corporations. we have provided comprehensive support to the Mississippi Department of Education through training, resources, and strategic planning. Despite this exponential growth, Mississippi First’s work is not done—their new goal is to offer high-quality pre-K seats to 50% of the state’s four-year-olds by 2030.
Since PAVE parents first selected school-based mental health (SBMH) as a top priority in 2018, they have been the drivers and co-creators of a comprehensive SBMH system. This year, parents’ vision for collective learning and identifying solutions culminated in Whole DC Community Learning Sessions: an initiative to bring diverse perspectives together to build understanding of the whole child model, improve implementation, and expand holistic supports. More than 80 DC leaders attended including cabinet-level city officials.
Additionally, in response to PAVE parent leaders’ years of advocacy, access to a mental health clinician in DC schools have been significantly expanded. An analysis of federal data by Education Week this year found that DC is the only state-level system with 100% of public school enrollment meeting “ideal ratios of school psychologists and counselors to students.”
This year, DC made even more progress around improving the SBMH workforce:
• DC was awarded a $9.7 million grant from the US Department of Education to support the recruitment and retention of mental health clinicians.
• In response to PAVE parents’ advocacy, two pieces of legislation were introduced to remove barriers for SBMH professionals to gain the certifications they need to work in schools.
Non-Network partners: Bloomberg Philanthropies, American Student Assistance, Walton Family Foundation
Rodel and partners started Delaware’s career pathways effort in 2014 with 27 students and set a goal of engaging 50% of high schoolers, 20,0000 students, by 2020. We achieved that goal, and in 2021 launched Pathways 2.0. and set our sights on: – Starting earlier in the middle grades – Our goal was to begin rolling out a new set of standards and supports to all 30,000 of our middle schoolers in 2025. At this point, after a student-centered design phase, 10 local schools will pilot “Rethinking Middle Grades” this fall to over 5,000 middle school students. – Going deeper with our high schoolers – We plan to not only reach our goal of 80% of all high schoolers, or 32,000 students enrolled in career pathways by 2025, but we are going deeper, starting with our vocational school students to accelerate apprenticeship programs. – Strengthening employer partnerships – Our plan is to engage hundreds of employers statewide by 2025 including a deep dive in IT. To do this, we launched the Tech Council of Delaware, DE’s first tech sector intermediary to connect the dots between IT training providers and employers. This work was made possible through a blend of public and private resources.
In 2021, Tennessee passed policy and provided funding to support high-dosage tutoring implementation to address pandemic learning loss. Prior to that, SCORE launched a multiprong approach to spread and scale high-dosage tutoring by providing guidance to districts, key geographical on-the-ground support, data collection to measure impact, and recommendations to policymakers and educators to refine practices. SCORE published a tutoring implementation guide and provided broad professional learning accessible to all Tennessee districts and charter schools. SCORE supported Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to design, pilot, and scale a high-dosage tutoring model aligned to research, one of the largest in the country—serving 7,000 students in year one, enabling MNPS to strategically launch tutoring before state support was available and providing intervention to a large proportion of the state’s historically underserved students. Additionally, SCORE launched a network of 6 districts, serving nearly 20,000 students, working to ensure their tutoring models were financially sustainable, scheduled during the school day for equitable access, and aligned to an instructionally coherent vision for student success. Network learnings led to the release of an instructional coherence white paper advocating for changes to Tennessee’s framework for intervention to ensure that funding for tutoring reaches students with greatest need.
Best Implementation Honorable Mentions
Aligned passed legislation in 2016 placing funding in the Missouri state funding formula for Pre-K expansion in school districts for up to 4% of their free/reduced lunch population. This legislation was gradually phased into all districts by 2019, adding $42MM to the formula. Aligned actively monitored the usage of the pre-k funds available to school districts over a two-year period. In 2019/2020, districts claimed 6,388 students for pre-k funding. After recognizing that only half of the districts across the state were utilizing the funding, we commissioned a study with NIEER in 2022 to better understand why districts were not using it. The results were utilized to make changes to the policy, enhancing access to capital funds to build additional classrooms and increasing the percentage smaller districts were able to utilize for a full classroom. In 2023, Aligned worked with Governor Mike Parson as part of a state-wide coalition to increase the funding and flexibility available to smaller districts and center-based pre-k providers who were being contracted with as an extension to school districts. Roughly $82MM was appropriated for increased access to pre-k slots in the state. Aligned is now contracted to complete a pre-k usage guide for districts and related contractors to ensure the funds are fully utilized.
The English Learner Roadmap was a landmark policy adopted by the California State Board of Education in 2017. While it set the foundations for how schools might better meet the needs of multilingual leaders, the promise of this revolutionary policy has not yet been realized. Outcomes for English learner students have not improved and many schools and districts continue to struggle to recognize and address the diverse needs of multilingual learners. In 2021 Teach Plus California launched the Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Network, supporting teacher leaders to spearhead change at the local level that reflects the principles of the English Learner Roadmap. Since then our three cohorts of teacher leaders have made an impact in 52 communities throughout California, as Teach Plus California has supported them in identifying barriers to implementation of the EL Roadmap and developing change ideas to overcome those barriers. Teacher Leaders have led implementation efforts that successfully addressed a range of issues, including improving educator awareness of the Roadmap, creating assets-oriented and needs responsive schools, and more robust and integrated data systems. Teach Plus California also launched the EBCAN Alumni Mobilization effort to expand local change efforts to a more regional and systemic level.