The Equity Implemented Partnership is unique in having a central focus on achieving greater educational equity for socially marginalized youth, and in pursuing this goal through the facilitation of a data- and research-informed, inclusive process model that targets district decision-making.
The process model developed by the EIP incorporates insights from four areas of research. First, to adequately center equity in the work, the model draws on systemic racism and critical race theory to understand the political and normative power dynamics embedded in district structures, policies, and practices that can derail efforts to enhance educational equity. Second, because educational equity is a systemic issue, the model focuses on systems or organizational change by incorporating lessons learned from school improvement and district capacity-building scholarship on the criticality of organizational decision-making processes and the role of central offices and transformative leadership in addressing the routinized practices and technical needs required to make the system work for equity. Third, the model draws on the growing body of research on the promise of research-practice partnerships as a model for collaboration between practitioners and researchers that produces rigorous, relevant, and context-specific research to inform educational policies and practices. And fourth, the model draws on insights from work on the conditions under which educational practitioners are effective in using data and research to inform decisions.
The process model developed by the Equity Implemented Partnership brings the insights from these diverse bodies of knowledge together in order to tackle the technical challenges faced by districts (e.g. capacity building, data and research use, teacher and leadership competencies) with an understanding that these issues must be considered within a context of systemic inequities, political contestation, and ongoing organizational processes that sustain inequities.
The process includes five key elements (see figure below):
- providing a needs assessment based on survey data collected from students, teachers, and parents
- collaboratively identifying key focus areas/problems of practice
- providing research syntheses of existing knowledge and identifying strategies with evidence of effectiveness
- incorporating the perspectives of diverse stakeholders through the formation and facilitation of a task force charged with providing feedback about potential recommendations and strategies for the district
- facilitating an implementation plan
- conducting evaluations of programmatic initiatives