Advocacy and Policy

Advocacy and Policy Program

Understand Policy in Context and Advocacy in Action

Advocacy & Policy engages communities, citizens, the political world, and the policy dynamics that construct our schools and educational systems. By understanding how policy can support and advance learning, as well as the obstacles and opportunities to transforming both the policies and structures of education, students are empowered to engage in the kind of work outside the classroom that is needed to ensure a vibrant education inside of it. Our setting in DC – the seat of national policymaking and the site of deep educational challenges and opportunities – affords students a rich environment to engage in hands-on, experience-driven study of the dynamics of the educational policy world.

The educational contexts of Washington, DC, are complex and too often understood in isolation from each other.  Bringing together advocates, policymakers, instructional leaders, and school officials, the MA in Educational Transformation enables students to learn from diverse perspectives and viewpoints.

All applicants to the Advocacy & Policy concentration are considered for merit-based scholarships, distributed on the basis of exceptional ability and talent based on information presented during the admissions process – no additional application necessary.

Course Sequence

The Advocacy & Policy concentration requires 30 credit hours over four semesters: summer, fall, spring, and summer. During the fall and spring semesters, students split their time between evening classes and 20-30 hours per week working with a nonprofit, public agency, lobbyist, advocacy group, think-tank, or school district. At the core of the Advocacy & Policy curriculum are the Policy Residency courses. Students in this two-semester long course will be placed in a policy-relevant field experience in order to gain an experiential perspective on the nature of educational advocacy and/or the policymaking process in education. Through placements with educational reform organizations, local public and charter boards, federal government offices, teachers unions, child parent advocacy organizations, and more, students will gain a hands-on view of the mechanics of interest representation and mobilization, efforts at agenda setting, the legislative process, rule-making, media relations, public awareness campaigns, and policy development and implementation. Throughout the year, coursework will connect students’ daily experiences with theoretical frameworks of organizational, policy, and political change in order to highlight the challenges and opportunities of policy and advocacy work in the field of education.