March 10, 2020Event Recap

Results for America State Education Fellows Share Lessons about Evidence Use at Final Convening in Washington

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On February 6-7, 2020, the inaugural cohort of Results for America’s State Education Fellows convened for the final time in Washington, DC to discuss the progress each state team has made toward accelerating the use of data and evidence to drive improvement in their districts and schools.


During the convening, Fellows were welcomed at the U.S. Department of Education for a discussion of the heightened role data and evidence have played in implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Fellows also headed to the U.S. Capitol for a congressional roundtable to share ideas about how Congress can support states’ efforts to build and use evidence to improve student outcomes. In addition, Fellows explored topics such as the use of evidence in grant programs, building local evidence of effectiveness and leveraging data and evidence as tools to identify and address systemic inequities.

Featured speakers included:

  • Timothy Blute, Interim Director, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices
  • Victoria Hammer, Director, Evidence-Based Policy for Formula Grant Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • Elaine Farber Budish, Director, UPD Consulting
  • Sherry Chen, Partner, UPD Consulting
  • Jessica Ramakis, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Education
  • Matthew Soldner, Chief Evaluation Officer, U.S. Department of Education, Commissioner, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences
  • Vivian Tseng, Senior Vice President, Program, William T. Grant Foundation
  • Carrie Conaway, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education, former Chief Strategy and Research Officer, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and RFA SEA Fellowship Alumna

Results for America’s State Education Fellowship program, founded in December 2017, is helping 27 state education agency officials from 13 leading states leverage opportunities under ESSA to make data and evidence more central to their efforts to improve outcomes for their students.

The first cohort of State Education Fellows will continue to advance policies and practices that help increase government’s investment in evidence-based approaches as part of RFA’s Alumni Network, which includes other results-driven government leaders and nonprofit CEOs from across the country. RFA anticipates announcing a second cohort of state education leaders in late Spring 2020.

Learn more about RFA’s work to help education leaders use and build evidence to improve student outcomes here.