The Education Trust-West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college.

About The Education Trust—West

About The Education Trust—West

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The Education Trust—West is an Oakland-based statewide educational policy, research, and advocacy organization that works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college.  We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps. 


Our Core Beliefs

  • We believe in the transformative power of education to close the opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other young Americans.
  • We believe all students will learn at high levels when they are taught at high levels. 
  • We believe great school leaders and highly effective teachers play the most important roles in closing opportunity and achievement gaps. 
  • We believe that all educational decisions must be made in the best interest of our highest-need students to achieve equitable outcomes.
  • We believe the cultural and linguistic diversity of California’s students and communities will fuel the next generation of state growth and prosperity.


What We Do

  • We identify and analyze data related to the opportunity and achievement gaps impacting students of color and low-income students in California.  We work to expose these gaps and understand the underlying causes.  We find success stories and try to understand how success can be replicated at scale.  We translate complex education data into easily understood and actionable information for education advocates. 
  • We work directly with schools and districts to understand and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of public school reform strategies in areas such as human capital, access to and success in college and career preparation, and other major initiatives intended to reduce and eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps for students of color and low-income students.  We seek real world examples supported by qualitative and quantitative research at the district, school and classroom levels. 
  • We seek to influence education policy in California by engaging key education stakeholders, including policymakers, thought leaders, practitioners, community groups, civic organizations, parents and youth.  Our goal is to drive a state and national conversation about how our educational system can better serve all students. 


We Focus on Reforms in Three Critical Areas

  • Ensure access to effective teachers for every student.

We need to find new ways to support and leverage our precious human capital—and ensure that our highest-need students have access to our very best teachers and leaders.

  • Support access to and success in college and career, from K-12 through higher education.

We need to raise expectations, prevent students from being “tracked” into lower-level courses and programs based on perceived ability, and ensure accountability for student attainment, so that all students are eligible to attend college and are prepared for success in both college and careers.

  • Ensure adequate and equitable funding for all students. 

Ensure that all California students receive a high quality education that is adequately and equitably funded.



•    Our research has led to changes in state law.  In 2005, we published The Hidden Teacher Spending Gap report that displayed broad inequities in funding of low-income schools, resulting in passage of SB 687. This marked an historic first step toward transparency in education spending.

•    We worked with the Superintendent of Public Instruction and other groups to support the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) which was implemented in 2006.

•    In the past year alone, our policy and research reports, such as A Report on District Achievement; Victims of the Churn; Effectiveness, Not Seniority; and Keeping the Promise of Change, made national and state headlines for exposing education inequities and identifying promising solutions.

•    Our unique data resources—Dispelling the Myth in California, Raising the Roof, Hidden Gaps, and the California District Report Cards—have given Californians access to education data that is understandable and user-friendly.

•    As a resource for national, state and local policymakers, we have provided testimony before the California State Legislature and the State Board of Education.  Over the years, we have sat on several high profile statewide committees and councils, including the Governor's Committee on Education Excellence and the Statewide P-16 Council. 

•    In 2010, we were among the first to advocate for the removal of language in state law that prevented the linking of teacher and student performance data, and along with the advent of Race to the Top, this language was finally amended through the passage of SB 19. 

•    State leaders acknowledged that our California's Race to the Top: A Road Map for Round Two report helped them develop the strategy for Round Two of the Race to the Top competition.  After the state’s failed first round bid, we advocated for the district-driven strategy that was adopted for the second round of Race to the Top.  We participated in the working committee that drafted the language for the Great Teachers and Leaders portion in the higher scoring second round application.  As a result, California became eligible for Round Three of Race to the Top.

•    As education experts, we have been quoted in national newspapers such as the New York Times, as well as the top newspapers around the state, including the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and San Diego Union-Tribune.

•    Over 1,000,000 students across California have been impacted by our work and technical assistance to schools, districts and community based organizations to ensure that all students are accessing a rigorous college and career readiness “A-G” curriculum.