Aspen Institute Education & Society Program Unveils Bipartisan Policy Tools for New Education Leaders

December 14, 2018

These tools are designed to assist new state leaders develop inclusive education policies following the 2018 midterm elections

Media Contact:
Abigail Swisher

Washington, D.C., December 14, 2018 — In anticipation of a new guard of education leaders taking office in 2019, The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program unveiled a robust set of resources for policymakers to better engage stakeholders at the onset of policy development in order to create policies that bring about true equity in education.

Working with a bipartisan set of partner organizations from communities, schools and statehouses, the tools were released as part of The Aspen Institute’s “The Changing of the Guard: New Opportunities for Education Leadership” event on December 12. All materials can be found here.

“We developed these resources because this is a critical moment for education policy,” said Dan Porterfield, The Aspen Institute’s president and CEO. “There is now strong demand from communities — both rural communities who were largely left out, and urban communities, families and students who were often displaced — for a greater voice and influence in education decisions. These resources will give all stakeholders the tools needed to lead constructive debates about the future of education.”

The 2018 midterm elections brought about a wave of change that will impact the future of education policy. Twenty new Governors and hundreds of new state legislators were elected. These new state leaders will have a tremendous amount of responsibility and authority over education policy, but with limited institutional knowledge at their disposal and many competing demands from other policy priorities. A remarkable 22 states have had new state education chiefs since 2016 alone.

“Students, parents and employers want to be included by these new leaders in the creation of policy, build relationships across party lines, and understand the historical context of our education system,” said Danielle Gonzales, Managing Director of The Aspen Institute’s Education & Society Program. “Engaging with stakeholders at the onset of policymaking is an approach that traditionally yields a higher level of buy-in and long-term success.”

The resources include:

  • Four issue briefs on issues new policymakers are most likely to face in 2019
    • School Choice
    • Career Readiness and Workforce Development
    • Teachers and School Leaders
    • School Safety and Student Discipline
  • Three rubrics
    • Industry and Workforce Engagement: A Rubric for Education  Policymaking
    • Family Engagement: A Rubric for Education Policymaking
    • Student Engagement: A Rubric for Education Policymaking
  • Two policymaking checklists
    • State Education Policy Checklist for Policymakers
    • Family-Led Policymaker Checklist for Families (This checklist will also be released in Spanish, Nepali and Karen language versions, with more to follow.)

The resources are co-branded by The George W. Bush Institute, Center for American Progress, Education Commission of the States, the Council of Chief State School Officers, The Council of State Governments, ExcelinEd, Education Strategy Group, Education Reform Now, Teach Plus, and RISE Colorado.

“Creating informed education policy is a shared priority of our organizations and we are excited to release the State Education Policy Checklist,” said Jeremy Anderson, President of Education Commission of the States. “The checklist poses important questions for consideration during the policymaking process and, in the end, helps develop successful legislation.”

“We know that well-trained and well-supported principals are highly effective because they recruit and retain the best teachers, set a positive school culture, and focus on the success of their students,” said Anne Wicks, Director of Education Reform at The George W. Bush Institute. “The new Teachers and School Leaders issue brief created in partnership with Teach Plus, Center for American Progress and The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program can help new policymakers create the conditions for teachers and school leaders to succeed and make a difference for all students.”

“This has been a year of unprecedented voice and potential for our nation’s teachers to pave the way forward for educational change,” said Teach Plus President and CEO Roberto Rodríguez.  “Teach Plus is proud to collaborate with the Aspen Institute to develop and disseminate these new tools, and to partner with state policymakers on both sides of the aisle as they work to advance educational equity for learners. Now is the time to empower our best and brightest teachers to build and strengthen their profession and shape the future of education.”

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. For more on Aspen, watch this video or visit our website:

One of the policy programs of the Aspen Institute, the Education & Society Program, improves public education by inspiring, informing, and influencing education leaders across policy and practices, with an emphasis on achieving equity for students of color and students from low-income families. For more, visit



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