Communicating about ESSA and Equity: Lessons Learned from New Research

Discourse on education is a muddled morass where “school choice,” “reform,” and “accountability” are used on all sides. Advocates for advancing equity in public schooling are often on defense. Appeals to increase “inputs” in order to “produce” better “outputs” give into dominant notions of education as a business endeavor. Reliance on constructions like “the achievement gap grew” shield from view the deliberate choices behind outcomes. With all this in mind, we undertook a four-phase research process to uncover a compelling narrative to motivate public support for achieving education equity. These are the tested “words that work” to persuade Americans on making public education equitable, with explicit calls to attend to race, class, and disability