Organizations Working in Education: Advocacy

Part
01
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Part
01

Organizations Working in Education: Advocacy, Government Entities Part 1

Four examples of some of the top government entities that are working in the area of youth-led advocacy have been provided in row 3, column C of the Advocacy Landscape tab in the attached spreadsheet. Details regarding these organizations have been provided below.

USAID

  • The USAID through its “Youth Excel” initiative is funding local youth-led organizations and youth servicing organizations so that they can implement their initiatives in education, health, employment and governance.
  • USAID was included in this list because of its reputation as a recognized international development agency.

GEAR UP

  • The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) by the US Department of Education is aimed at increasing the number of low-income students succeeding in postsecondary education. The program offers grants to partnerships and states to provide services at high schools in poverty-stricken areas.
  • GEAR UP hosts an annual Youth Leadership Summit, which is characterized by student-led presentations. The event helps students identify and take advantage of their leadership skills.
  • GEAR UP was selected in the list because its reputation as an initiative of the US Department of Education and its current activities. The organization aims to serve up to 70,000 students.

YouthBuild

  • YouthBuild gives at-risk youth between 16 and 24 years the opportunity to better their lives by earning their high school diploma and preparing them for college and post-secondary training programs.
  • With youth leaders at the forefront, the organization advocates for higher federal appropriations for the youth.
  • YouthBuild was included in the list because of its current activity in supporting low-income youth without education access and sharing occupational skills in in-demand industries.

Employment and Training Administration

  • The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) supports the enrollment of youth apprentices between 16 and 24 years old into existing Registered Apprenticeship Programs.
  • ETA was selected in this list because it of the amount of investment in the space. In 2020, the agency set aside $42.5 million to support between 15 and 20 Youth Apprenticeship Readiness grants that range from $1 million to $5 million.
Part
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Part
02

Organizations Working in Education: Advocacy, Government Entities Part 2

Some examples of top government entities that are working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics have been listed in row 3 column C of the attached spreadsheet.

The ECPACT USA

  • ECPAT USA is a social services organization focused on “empowering youth to take the lead in anti-human trafficking efforts with our Youth Against Child Trafficking (Y-ACT) program. We are involving our primary stakeholders, America’s children, in advocating against sexual exploitation and trafficking.”
  • The organization “trains students to be the foremost advocates in their communities, educating them on the facts, misconceptions, and risks of trafficking”.
  • The organization has been selected because of its reputation as one of the most active organizations in support of youth-led advocacy around education and against trafficking and exploitation.

The American Youth Policy Forum

  • The AYPF is committed to informing youth policy and improving youth outcomes by providing learning opportunities to the youth and others researched on matters of education and other policy issues.
  • One of the entity’s focus areas is ‘youth leadership and voice’ “which refers to knowledge, opinions, and access to the platforms that are necessary for youth to exercise their right to speak out around issues and policies that directly or indirectly affect them, such as education”
  • The organization has been included because it appears across multiple sources as one of the most active government entities focused on empowering youth to be their own advocates around major policy issues such as education.

The United States Child Poverty Action Group

  • The US CPAP is focused on eliminating poverty among children in the US. One of the ways propagated by the organization to do so is to ensure every child is guaranteed access to education.
  • The organization supports the voice of children and youth (on issues education and others) as a critical part of creating positive change. The US CPAP has partnered with the Save the Children Action Network which seeks to offer a political voice for kids’. The organization aims at investing in children and holding leaders accountable for matters affecting kids.
  • The organization has been included among the top as it was formed nationally with the involvement of key national leaders. The initiative has since given birth to additional 20 national organizations focused on the rights of children and the youth.

Research Strategy

We reviewed several government documents, pre-compiled lists as well as industry publications to identify top government entities that are working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics. We found some initiatives, most of which are included in the Exclusions tab of the attached spreadsheet. We only found three relevant organizations included as part of our findings. Our assumption is that much of the support for youth-led advocacy around education comes from non-profit organizations and part of government initiatives and programs. The research team also found that most projects by the government are targeted at inspiring advocacy educators, policy-makers, decision makers and leaders rather than on teens and the youth. We believe that further research may not yield additional government entities as the same could not be found even after extensive research. Even so, further research can unearth additional initiatives (rather than entities) around youth-led advocacy in education and government entities focused on policy-makers at higher levels.
Part
03
of six
Part
03

Organizations Working in Education: Advocacy, Nonprofit Entities Part 1

Four examples of top nonprofit entities working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics are Children's Defense Fund, the ASPIRA Association, the Center for Education Reform, and Education Reimagined. Detailed information on each of the nonprofits is below, and in the attached spreadsheet.

Children Defense Fund

  • The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a nonprofit child advocacy organization that has worked tirelessly for over 40 years to champion a level playing field for all children, including their access to quality education.

What They are Doing

Why They Were Included

  • The organization was chosen for its reputation and the impact of its programs. According to Candid, more than 150,000 children and youths have taken part in Freedom Schools.

The ASPIRA Association

What They are Doing

  • The ASPIRA Association provides programs to encourage Hispanic students to stay in school and prepare them to succeed in the educational arena. ASPIRA statewide organizations offer various educational enrichment and advance youth’s educational achievement. ASPIRA currently has over 450,000 alumni.
  • The ASPIRA Process “teaches young people to become aware of their own situation and that of their community, to analyze the root causes of barriers to their success, and to take action for positive changes in their personal lives and the life of their community.”

Why They Were Included

  • The ASPIRA Association was chosen due to its reputation, recognition in the US, and impact. According to the organization, almost every Latino leader in business, politics, and education in the cities ASPIRA implements its program has been an Aspirantes.
  • The Association serves more than 85,000 students each year through its ASPIRA Clubs in schools and after-school education. The ASPIRA Process has resulted in more than 95% of Aspirantes completing high school and over 90% going on to college.

Center for Education Reform

What They are Doing

  • The Center for Education Reform aims to "give learners at all levels the opportunity to shape their education." The organization does this by generating publicity through media outreach and connecting innovators with investors and schools to quicken their impact.

Why They Were Included

  • In 2008, the organization's advocacy work improved schools in 15 states in just a year. In 2011, the organization reached five billion media impressions since inception.
  • In 2013, the organization had touched 20 million school choice advocates in 20 years.

Education-Reimagined

What They are Doing

  • Education-Reimagined advocates for a learner-centered future for education. The organization champions the transformation of the current inadequate and unequal to one that includes, serves, and values every child.
  • Education-Reimagined operates the Learning Lab to mobilize practitioners to exemplify that learner-centered education is crucial in addressing the US's most pressing educational challenges today. The organization also operates the SparkHouse to "unite and ignite young learners to be powerful ambassadors for and leaders of the national learner-centered movement."

Why They Were Included

  • Education-Reimagined were included due to their reach and impact of their programs. The organization's Movement Builder Network program "includes 153 diverse regional and national leaders in the learner-centered education movement."

Research Strategy

To find four examples of top nonprofit entities working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics, we defined top based on the reputation they hold, the reach of the organization, and the impact of the nonprofit's projects.
Part
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of six
Part
04

Organizations Working in Education: Advocacy, Nonprofit Entities Part 2

Four additional examples of top nonprofit entities that are working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics are My Brother's Keepers Alliance, Student Voice, Mikva Challenge, and UrbEd (spreadsheet attached).

My Brother's Keepers Alliance

  • "MBK Alliance focuses on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color"--to close the education gap--"where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity."
  • Jared Brown, who "manages a network of youth leaders and local leaders" for MBK in 250 jurisdictions, featured in the Forbes "list of the 30 most influential people in education under the age of 30."

Student Voice

  • Student Voice is "a nationwide student-led nonprofit organization that works to equip students to advocate for solutions to educational inequity."
  • Merrit Jones, Board President of the Student Voice, featured in the Forbes "list of the 30 most influential people in education under the age of 30."

Mikva Challenge

  • Mikva Challenge runs youth-led advocacy programs that "help young people develop civic knowledge and leadership skills" and influence policy decisions (for example, The Chicago School Board).

UrbEd

  • "UrbEd is a non-profit based in Philadelphia that advocates for fully-funded, safe, and healthy public schools in order to provide students with an equitable and quality education they deserve. The organization seeks to "build a student movement that works together to reform urban education."
  • UrbEd features in Planbook's "15 Inspiring Nonprofits and Student Advocacy Groups. Student Representatives on the UrbEd board serve over 200,000 students."

Research Strategy

We used the Forbes 2020 rankings of the 30 most influential people in education under the age of 30" to identify two of the top youth-led advocacy organizations in the area of education. Only organizations that were involved in youth-led advocacy were included. Two other top organizations were identified on the basis of the number of social media followers, the number of students reached, and industry recognition received.
Part
05
of six
Part
05

Organizations Working in Education: Advocacy, For Profit Entities Part 1

The four top For-profit entities working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics are Aurora Institute, Evergreen Education Group , American Enterprise Institute, and Highlander Institute. Comprehensive details of the organizations are below.

Aurora Institute

  • Aurora Institute is a For-profit advocacy organization that advocates for the nascent field of K-12 next-generation, competency-based education and personalized learning across the United States.

What They Are Doing

  • The organization's effort explores the essentials for "transformational change in K-12 systems, promotes best practices, identifies policy barriers, and makes recommendations for change."
  • They strive to accomplish a strong, future-focused idea of education through field-building and knowledge creation, state and federal policy advocacy, and connecting and meeting.
  • The mission of the Aurora Institute is to encourage the change of education policies and advance the progress of breakthrough procedures to guarantee high-quality learning for youth.

Why They Were Included

  • The organization has impacted about 14 million students nationwide by its work in educational policy and practice.

Evergreen Education Group

  • Evergreen Education group is a For-profit advocacy organization that works as a leader in K–12 digital learning research and advisory services in the United States.

What They Are Doing

  • The organization creates the "Digital Learning Annual Conference, which explores the real promise of online, blended, and digital learning."
  • The company currently provides consulting and advisory services to schools, districts, state agencies, companies, and foundations.

Why They Were Included

  • The organization has provided above 2 million successful online course completions to students across Florida, and other US states. The Clark County School District, "the fifth-largest in the United States—adopted Evergreen’s Planning for the Quality guide to bring blended learning to more than 100,000 students in schools across the district."

American Enterprise Institute

  • The American Enterprise Institute is a public For-profit advocacy organization dedicated to connecting top college students across the country with the ideas, research, and network of AEI.

What They Are Doing

  • AEI has a Weekend Honors Program that brings together 16–20 students from different schools, academic backgrounds, and perspectives for an immersive series of discussions about a present public policy issue.
  • The AEI Executive Council Program allows current undergraduates to engage with AEI’s scholarship, and to grow the quality and variety of public policy dialogue on their faculties.
  • AEI’s "education policy scholars are exploring ways to strengthen America’s educational system as a vehicle for upward mobility, examining issues affecting early childhood, K–12, and higher education. "

Why They Were Included

  • The organization is included due to its reach and impact of its programs on the American youths.

Highlander Institute.

  • Highlander Institute is a For-profit advocacy organization that partners with communities to envision and build more impartial, consistent, and efficient schools. The organization uses research to "convene, coach, and build capacity to improve outcomes and experiences for all students."

What They Are Doing

  • Highlander Institute service is directed towards providing tailored, unique, embedded supports at the classroom, school, and district levels. "Highlander Institute specializes in blended and personalized learning models that are focused on creating equity through education."
  • The Institute builds and implements tools that allow communities to diagnose obstacles and design solutions from a student-centered perspective. They also build strategies that strengthen local teachers to customize institute education and experience, "mobilizing home-grown teams of personalized learning specialists."
  • They engage with schools and school divisions across the state and region to render high-quality learning consulting services. Their services vary from "strategic planning to network design and technical support to embedded professional development and coaching."

Why They Were Included

  • The organization was chosen for its reputation and the impact of its programs. "Each year, they collaborate with educators across the country to showcase the best classroom, school, and district implementers at our conference in Providence, RI."

Research Strategy

To find four examples of top For-profit entities working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics, we defined top based on the reputation they hold, and the impact of the nonprofit's projects. We used CrunchBase to determine whether or not the organizations are For-profit.

Part
06
of six
Part
06

Organizations Working in Education: Advocacy, For Profit Entities Part 2

Having failed to find additional for-profit entities that are working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics, the research team has provided some useful findings below. Unfortunately, we could not add any additional examples in row 3, column E of the Agency Landscape tab of the attached spreadsheet.

Useful Findings

  • Alcoa, Albertsons, Allstate, AT&T, Farmers Insurance, Dollar General, State Farm, Sprint, Target, U.S. Bancorp, Union Pacific, Wells Fargo, Salesforce, and KPMG are among for-profit organizations that fund K-12 education in the United States as part of their CSR efforts.
  • Battelle for Kids, Digital Promise, and the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) are among non-profit organizations that are advocating for edtech and personalized learning for the benefit of U.S. students.
  • Aspen Institute, Christensen Institute, American Enterprise Institute, and The Center for Education Reform are among non-profit organizations that are advocating for national policy changes that will improve the education system in the U.S.
  • Youth Funding Youth Ideas, Youth Empowerment Fund, Learning to Give, and Youth Service America are among organizations that directly work to promote youth-led programs in education and other social activities.
  • In June 2019, Youth to the People, a skincare brand, donated $50,000 to support advocacy efforts to protect LGBTQ students in U.S. schools, among other initiatives. However, it was not clear whether the advocacy was youth-led.
  • According to a 2015 Guardian list, IBM, ExxonMobil, Target, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo would be among U.S. corporations spending millions on education programs.

Research Strategy

To provide examples of some top for-profit entities that are working in the area of youth-led advocacy around education topics, the research team began by searching through the public domain for any compiled lists or rankings by media reports, philanthropy-focused resources, or any other relevant resources. We were interested in organizations that work in a variety of advocacy avenues, including, but not limited to, things like connecting kids with influencers in the space, data driven advocacy platforms, social media mechanisms that can enable connectivity between youth-led educated related activism and legislators, teaching kids thought-leadership skills, and giving them the confidence to be thought leaders in their communities.
While we managed to find organizations that are directly advocating for favorable education policies and conditions for U.S. youths in the national, regional, and state arenas from lists published by Planbook and Getting Smart, there was none that focused on empowering kids and teens to be their own advocates. Also, all the 65 organizations featured in the two lists were non-profits.
Having found no for-profit entities focusing directly on youth empowerment in education advocacy, the research team explored lists of for-profit organizations/foundations/companies that fund education programs for U.S. youths in the hope that some support/dedicate resources towards programs aimed at promoting youth-led advocacy around education topics such as curriculum, equitable access, and resources, among others. However, most fund school districts, schools, and teaching programs, as opposed to advocacy efforts.
As a last resort, the research team decided to search for youth-led advocacy campaigns on social media and other platforms and then identify the organizations behind them. Our strategy involved searching for various relevant keywords and hashtags on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as other social platforms such as Reddit. If found, we would have rated them based on reach. Unfortunately, our efforts were fruitless as the pages/campaigns that we managed to find, such as the Youth Society for Education, are run by non-profits.
We also looked at the client-provided examples in row 2 of the attached spreadsheet in order to understand the types of organizations that the client is looking for. However, none among Change.org, COSN, TCEA, and SETDA focuses on empowering the youth, and they are all non-profits.
We believe that further research may not yield additional for-profit entities as the same could not be found even after extensive research. Even so, further research can unearth additional initiatives (rather than entities) around youth-led advocacy in education and non-profit entities focused on influencing policy-makers at higher levels.
Sources
Sources

From Part 05
Quotes
  • "The world is changing, and education must change with it. Since our founding, the Aurora Institute has led the growth of the nascent field of K-12 next-generation, competency-based education and personalized learning across the United States. As a hub for innovators across education, our work examines the needs for transformational change in K-12 systems, promotes best practices, identifies policy barriers, and makes recommendations for change. Together, we work to achieve a bold, future-focused vision of education through state and federal policy advocacy, field-building and knowledge creation, and connecting and convening."
  • "The mission of the Aurora Institute is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for youth"
  • "Our moral purpose is to transform education such that each child has what they need to develop their full academic, social, and personal capacity. We strive to disrupt the structural inequities driving the systems we’ve inherited. Access to high-quality, appropriately designed learning models and technologies can and should drive equitable opportunities and outcomes."
  • "The organisation has impacted about 14 million STUDENTS NATIONWIDE by their COLLECTIVE WORK IN EDUCATIONAL POLICY AND PRACTICE"
Quotes
  • "The mission of the Center for Education Reform is to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans, particularly our youth, ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education. Our vision is a country and states that provide increased, quality educational options that secure our nation’s freedom and future prosperity. "
  • ""
Quotes
  • "AEI’s education policy scholars are exploring ways to strengthen America’s educational system as a vehicle for upward mobility, examining issues affecting early childhood, K–12, and higher education. Our scholars are committed to steering a path toward reinvention and reform that serves students; encourages personal responsibility; empowers parents, communities, and educators; overhauls outdated institutions; battles one-size-fits-all bureaucracy; and promotes the values that help fuel America’s astonishing success."
  • "AEI scholars are committed to making the intellectual, moral, and practical case for expanding freedom, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening the free enterprise system in America and around the world. Our work explores ideas that further these goals, and AEI scholars take part in this pursuit with academic freedom. "
Quotes
  • "Highlander Institute partners with communities to imagine and create more equitable, relevant, and effective schools. Using research, we convene, coach, and build capacity to improve outcomes and experiences for all students."
  • "Today, Highlander Institute services are directed at improving education by focusing on the educator: providing unique, tailored, embedded supports at the classroom, school, and district levels. Highlander Institute specializes in blended and personalized learning models that are focused on creating equity through education. The Institute designs and implements proof-of-concept work, building not only the tools that enable districts to diagnose problems and design solutions from a student-centered perspective but also the capacity-building strategies that energize local educators to customize Institute knowledge and experience, mobilizing home-grown teams of personalized learning specialists."