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A Reflection on the Derek Chauvin Verdict

April 23, 2021

On April 20th, the jury returned their verdict – guilty as charged on three counts for the murder of George Floyd. Moments before the judge read the verdict, my heart was pounding, hoping for the “best”, but fearing more of the same– a country that consistently fails to hold those who murder Black bodies accountable for their crimes. And knowing that my hope for a guilty verdict – even as it was realized – does not represent justice. As Brittany Packnett Cunningham has consistently reminded, justice would be George Floyd still alive. The fact that this was not justice was amplified by the murder of another child, Ma’Khia Bryant, at the hands of police mere minutes after the verdict was read. The brokenness of our systems is breaking our children, especially Black children, and in turn our future.

Equity and Evaluation Policy: Making Good on the Biden Administration’s Commitment

The Biden Administration has taken clear steps to make racial equity a governmentwide priority. What should that look like for evaluation policy?  

 The January 20th Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government (EO) cited the urgent need to address entrenched disparities in US law and public policy, acknowledging long-standing inequities that exacerbated the converging economic, health, and climate crises. One week later, the Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking (Memorandum) emphasized “the delivery of equitable programs, across every area of government,” including the role of evidence-based policymaking. The direct language of racial equity, accompanied by President Biden’s January 26th remarks explicitly naming racial injustice as a nation-wide equity agenda, promises a new level of unpacking how federal government operates and engages people and communities historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.  

Personal Reflections from Karen Pittman on the First Week of 2021

January 11, 2021

When my phone's emergency alert alarm went off at 3 pm Wednesday, I knew it wasn't a weather emergency. The Mayor was shutting down the city. I assumed that the violence many of us dreaded had started. It wasn't until I finished my virtual meetings and turned on the news, however, that I saw the scope and seriousness of the events. It did not take long to process them: White nationalists had successfully breached the U.S. Capitol. I am still working to fully understand the motivations of the leaders - from elected officials to law enforcement - who fueled that rage and then let this happen. This was not a natural disaster. This was a man-made disgrace.

What I am really struggling with is how to respond to them. What can I do? What should I do?

Measure, Use, Improve! Data Use in Out-of-School Time

January 6, 2021

Opportunities to support young people’s learning and development are normally shared and spread across various spaces, places, and delivery modes in schools, community organizations, and families. We have robust ways to measure and evaluate learning in school systems, but how do we measure the impact of out-of-school (OST) settings?

Changing the odds for young people has never been more important