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.
The Forum for Youth Investment stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. We are deeply saddened and enraged by the heinous attacks on the three Asian-owned businesses in Atlanta on March 16th, which led to the murder of eight people including six women and one man of Asian descent. This is the largest-scale hate crime against the AAPI community since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It represents the intersection of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia.
Citywide systems that coordinate the work of out-of-school time (OST) providers, government agencies, private funders, and others are designed to ensure that OST programs reach children who lack access to quality programming. In 2012, The Wallace Foundation asked FHI 360 to conduct an exploratory study to determine the extent to which U.S. cities with populations over 100,000 were undertaking afterschool system-building initiatives.
Changing the Odds Thought Leader Interview: Chronic Absenteeism – Indicator and Cause of Educational Inequity
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, 1 out of 6 students were chronically absent. As data is reported out this year, we are likely to see a dramatic increase in chronic absence, especially for the populations hardest hit by Covid-19. What is the definition of chronic absence? What are the metrics? Since absenteeism is not just a cause of educational inequity, but a leading indicator, how can attendance and chronic absenteeism data be used and improved to assess barriers and the lack of positive conditions for learning that undermine students’ and families’ relationships with their schools?
Disruption creates opportunity. COVID, and continued racial reckonings have exposed many of the inefficiencies and inequities that are baked into our public education system and, more broadly, into public conceptions of how learning happens. Every school leader is committed to “building back better.” Many, having seen the innovation and resourcefulness of families and community organizations who stepped in to fill the complex void suddenly created by school closings, are seeing the value of building forward together – thinking about how to better leverage the assets of these critical learning partners. Only a few, however, are thinking about how to use the disruption to fundamentally transform their schools to have youth empowerment, equity, and community baked into their core.
The time has come. The transition is upon us. Not the one in downtown D.C. The one right here at the Forum for Youth Investment. For the last several years, Karen has signaled that the day was coming when she would step out of organizational leadership and “find more time.” More time to reflect. More time to write. More time to amplify powerful ideas. On February 1st she will step down as President and CEO of the Forum and move into a Senior Fellow role. She will continue as a co-lead of the Readiness Projects – “using science-informed strategies to upend inequity and accelerate progress” – alongside coordinating partners Merita Irby (Forum Co-founder and Executive Vice President), Hal Smith (National Urban League) and Deborah Moroney (American Institutes of Research). She will also free up time and brain space to explore new ways of maximizing our our shared mission of “changing the odds for children and youth.
Merita Irby interviews Karen – her colleague for more than a quarter of a century – about where she’s been, what’s up next, and why now.