We joined several partners in Washington, D.C., to promote education excellence and equity. Thanks to the staff of Representative Castro and Senator Cornyn for discussing these issues with us.  

Through the Advanced Coursework Equity Act (ACEA) districts and states would issue grants. The goal would be to increase the enrollment and performance of underrepresented students. Data shows disparity among Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans and students from low-income households. They do not take Advanced Placement and dual credit classes as often as other students. ACEA would help schools set up practices, buy materials, fund test costs, give tutoring, and train instructors. Support: 15 education organizations, five Senate cosponsors, and 11 House cosponsors.    

Districts must allot the rest of 2021 COVID-19 federal relief in September. Yet, this will likely end the sound practice of intensive tutoring and extended learning time. While Title I and IV funding through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) helps, arbitrary budget caps hurt 2024 funding. We asked Congress to set aside caps for 2025 and restore aid that accelerates learning.   

Reading by the end of 3rd grade is one of the most crucial markers for high school graduation and future jobs. Yet, disparities are stark. Hardest hit: English learners and students of color, from low-income households, and with disabilities. The Science of Reading was a successful method during the pandemic. We asked legislators to support Senator Cassidy and Reed’s resolution to use this program. 

Funding disparities exist among Historically Black Colleges and Universities compared to public peers. This is also true for Tribal Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions. Yet these schools generate almost $15 billion in economic impact and over 134,000 jobs every year. They also produce STEM graduates. We asked legislators to set aside caps for 2025 to remedy the difference.   

Our Senior Director of Communications & Policy, Jennifer Cavazos Saenz, also sat on a panel. She and colleagues discussed the work of advocating for advanced equity and justice. “Thinking about how we communicate is crucial. We must message with an asset lens and not a deficit lens,” she said.