Commitment to Equity

The Educational Research and Data Center (ERDC) is committed to equity. As the coordinator of the Washington Statewide Longitudinal Data System, we partner with other state agencies to research and highlight education disparities. This information is valuable to policymakers and local leaders striving to address inequities in our state. Over the past 15 years, ERDC research has shown that education systems - from early learning to K-12 and higher education - are characterized by inequitable access and outcomes for students.  In addition to race- and gender-based disparities, ERDC has found that students who encounter the juvenile justice system, foster care, or homelessness experience compounding challenges. Inequitable outcomes persist for marginalized students as they enter the workforce, negatively impacting their long-term income, health, and well-being. ERDC will support research that leads to deeper conversations, better decisions, and systemic change. We support the advancement of equitable outcomes for all Washington students and families, regardless of race, gender identities, abilities, income level, or geographic location.

In our commitment to equity, ERDC:

Prioritizes equity in our research agenda. ERDC is currently researching several topics related to educational equity within Washington’s public educational system. Our current agenda includes analysis and research activities in the following areas: 1) Education Paths for Special Student Populations; 2) Student Learning and Outcomes; 3) Equitable Access to Effective Educators; 4) Utilization of Social and Health Services by Student Populations; and 5) School Discipline, Absence, and Juvenile Justice Involvement.

Enables researchers to access data to inform systemic change. Data alone cannot create systemic change, but quantitative data are an essential tool to identify inequities and diagnose the problems. To leverage data for positive systemic change, we encourage policymakers, educators, and all those who use data to interpret it with an asset-oriented mindset, recognizing that systems—not students—are the underlying cause of the inequities reflected in the data.

Produces accessible, public-facing reports and tools. Through standard reports and interactive, public-facing dashboards, ERDC encourages policymakers, families, educators, and communities to engage with educational data in ways that answer their most pressing questions. These tools enable individuals to explore the data and answer their own questions- or generate new questions that can be explored in the future.

Protects student privacy. Data should only be used to help students, never to harm them. ERDC protects student privacy and secures students’ data. We take our role in the proper use of educational data seriously. ERDC follows strong governance protocols, including strict guidelines for who can access which data and how that data can be used.

ERDC acknowledges that striving towards equity is an unfolding, dynamic, and collaborative process. Individuals and organizations have distinctive roles to play in this struggle. We have a unique role to provide trusted, accurate, and objective information about educational and economic systems. Through our work, we support efforts to eliminate systemic racial disparities that exist in different aspects of life and improve social equity across the state.