Why This Study
In 2016, Frances Messano (Managing Partner - NewSchools Venture Fund) and the authors, Xiomara Padamsee (CEO - Promise54) and Becky Crowe (Senior Adviser - Bellwether Education Partners), brought together a group of education funders to underwrite a rigorous study of the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sector.
While this group perceived a near-universal awareness of the lack of diversity within education organizations, no one had yet taken on a field-level research project to quantify the issue in aggregate.
That research is now complete, and we are excited to release the findings. Our strong hope is that this study inspires our colleagues within education organizations of all types to recognize diversity, equity, and inclusion as a source of unrealized impact and commit to progress as an organizational imperative.
Staff perceptions about diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizations impact recruitment and retention.
Staff are 3x more likely to recommend an organization that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive to a friend.
Staff – especially staff of color – are significantly more likely to stay in diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations.
Education leaders see many ways that workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion positively impact student outcomes.
A deep understanding of communities served, giving students and families a virtual “seat at the table.”
Higher expectations and role modeling from teachers and leaders who share the backgrounds of their students and staff, driving higher achievement.
Trusted relationships with students, parents, local communities, and team members, up and down organizational hierarchies, and with partner organizations.
We found a wide variety of practices related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in use across organizations of all sizes and types.
We found no universal set of practices used. Of the nearly 50 practices in the survey, only nine are used by more than half the respondents. On the other hand, all but nine are being used by at least 20% of the organizations.
Organizations of all sizes reported having basic policies and practices on our list in place. On the other hand, many organizations do not – even some with high levels of diversity and high scores on inclusion and equity.
In the News...
Announcing the Launch of Promise54, a nonprofit talent solutions provider for the education sector
NewSchools Venture Fund...New Report: Most Comprehensive Study Ever Done on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Education Sector
Philanthropy News Digest...Education Sector Needs Work on Diversity, Equity, Study Finds
NewSchools Blog...Unrealized Impact: New Study on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Education
Charter Board Partners...It's Time For Those Difficult Conversations
Interested in having an Unrealized Impact presentation at your conference?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the growing list of conferences featuring the Unrealized Impact study:
NewSchools Venture Fund, EdLoC, Diverse Charter Schools Convening, 826 National Convening, College Track National Leadership, Grantmakers for Education, National Black Male Educators Convening, Make Your Mark Denver, and iNACOL.
The People Behind the Study
Numerous individuals contributed to this study, including the over 5,000 teachers, staff members, leaders, and administrators who shared their experiences, perceptions, challenges, and suggestions via the surveys.
Xiomara Padamsee is the founder and CEO of Promise54. She formerly led the Talent Advising practice - including the diversity, inclusion, and equity service offering - as a partner and member of the management team at Bellwether Education Partners . Xiomara has been working in education reform and human capital for 20 years, including roles as a leader in Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital Group and as Vice President, management team member, and founder of Teach For America’s first national talent team.
Becky Crowe has spent more than 20 years pursuing educational equity as a social entrepreneur, education strategy consultant, and philanthropy adviser. Becky co-founded Bellwether Education Partners’ Talent Advising practice. Becky is the former Executive Director of Partners in School Innovation. She previously held roles at the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative and as a research project director at Stanford University.
Other key contributors to the study included Angela Cobb, Lyle Hurst, Atalie Jacobs, Erin Trent Johnson, Leslye Louie, Tanya Paperny and Lauren Schwartze.
The Foundation Working Group
Frances Messano led the Foundation Working Group. She is a managing partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she co-leads the diverse leaders strategy. Prior to this, Frances was a vice president at Teach For America, where she led the organization through its long-range strategic planning process. She was also an associate partner at Monitor Institute where she focused her consulting practice on helping education organizations scale their impact through strategy development and organizational design. Frances has focused on diversity and equity related issues throughout her career.
The study benefited from an active, 13-person Foundation Working Group. Members included Jen Holleran and Darnell Cadette from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Deborah McGriff and Elise Smith from NewSchools Venture Fund; Lindsay Hill from Raikes Foundation; Julie Mikuta and Grace Yi from Schusterman Family Foundation; and Kristi Anderson, Marisa Bold, Emma Pengelly, and Melinda Wright from Walton Family Foundation.
The Advisory Panel
We are indebted to the 26 members of our advisory panel who infused this process with compelling insights and fresh perspectives based on decades of experience leading organizations and modeling excellent practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Charter Management Organization Leaders/Charter Operators
De-Lea Deane-Allen, Achievement First
Frances Teso, Voices College-Bound Language Academies
Greg White, LEARN Charter School Network
Kara Bobroff, Native American Community Academy/NACA Inspired Schools Network
Roblin J. Webb, Freedom Preparatory Academy
Education Technology Leaders
Jonah Kagan, Clever
Mónica Vasquez, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools (formerly of San Francisco Unified School District)
Chris Barbic, Laura and John Arnold Foundation (formerly of the Achievement School District)
Maggie Potapchuk, MP Associates
Dr. Jason Javier-Watson, Penn Graduate School of Education
Amanda Fernandez, Latinos for Education
Anne Eidelman, Blue Engine
Carmita Semaan, Surge Institute
Elisa Villanueva Beard, Teach For America
Frances McLaughlin, formerly of Education Pioneers
Ify Offor Walker, Offor Walker Group
Jean Desravines, New Leaders
Jonathan Klein, GO Public Schools
Jonathan Schorr, independent consultant
Justin Cohen, writer
Layla Avila, Education Leaders of Color
Marilyn Rhames, writer
Melinda Spooner, Achievement Network
Sid Smith, Discourse Analytics
Thaly Germain, Equity Partners
Veronica Palmer, RISE Colorado