Practice2Policy: The Top 10 Ways America Forward Has Shaped Education Policy in 10 Years

This year, America Forward celebrates 10 years of collective advocacy work.  Since our inception, America Forward has been inspired by and grounded in our Education Task Force’s work in classrooms, districts, and communities across the nation. As we look back at 10 years together, here are the top 10 ways America Forward has shaped education policy over the past decade and have transformed #Practice2Policy:

  1. America Forward launched the America Forward Coalition Education Task Force in 2011 to develop a comprehensive policy platform outlining how we leverage partnerships, innovation, and a critical equity focus to improve elementary and secondary education for all students and how policymakers can take examples of effective programs and translate them into effective federal policies. Working together with bipartisan leadership on Capitol Hill, America Forward and the America Forward Coalition secured key provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including language to support high-quality partnerships, authorize a competency-based pilot, elevate supports for students with learning differences, support local Pay for Success projects, and encourage access to post-secondary data.
  2. To reflect the growth and priorities of our Coalition organizations, America Forward launched three additional education working groups – our Early Learning Working Group, Career and Technical Education Working Group, and Higher Education Working Group – over the past two years to develop and advance our Coalition’s collective priorities in each of these issue areas.
  3. America Forward’s Early Learning Working Group recently ratified its policy platform. This platform details the Coalition’s vision for an early learning system that prepares every child in America who enters K-12 with the academic skills, emotional supports, strong adult relationships and stability they need to succeed in school and in life and will serve as a foundation for our federal advocacy work as Congress prepares to reauthorize the Head Start Act.
  4. America Forward developed its Higher Education policy platform for the 115th Congress which outlines those features we believe are critical to making our post-secondary system more equitable, efficient, and effective and has started working with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to champion and advance some of the key ideas in the platform for inclusion in legislation to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
  5. America Forward’s Career and Technical Education Working Group is working with Congress as they work to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Specifically, our Career and Technical Education Working Group is working to advance federal policies that open doors that create multiple pathways and support individuals who seek additional training, credentials or credit hours to achieve their career goals, and equip them with the skills for the jobs of today and the future.
  6. Since 2008, America Forward has engaged with candidates on both sides of the aisle in each election cycle through meetings, town halls, site visits, white papers, and the publication of our Moving America Forward presidential briefing book, to advocate for innovative, equity-focused, evidence-based early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education policy ideas to be included in federal legislation.
  7. In the 2016 election cycle, America Forward held a series of town halls across the country and virtually to highlight the lived experiences of today’s college students and advocates for the federal policy solutions needed to address the barriers today’s students face gaining access to and thriving in post-secondary programs.
  8. America Forward has worked with several network partners over the past decade to advance policies critical to our Coalition organizations, including provisions included in ESSA and our recent partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop a set of policy recommendations that recognize the critical equity work at the core of our approach to personalized learning; specifically beginning with the barriers that students of color, students with learning differences, students impacted by trauma, and English Learners face.
  9. America Forward has led many briefings, webinars, and policy and advocacy training sessions to support our education-focused Coalition and network members in building their capacity to engage in the policymaking process.
  10. Each year America Forward advocates for critical education priorities as part of the federal budget and appropriations process; advocating for resources to support the essential work Coalition members are driving at the community level to improve opportunity for all students from birth through college and the workforce.
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