Shifting Power Structures in Educational Research and Development

The University of Pittsburgh and Remake Learning have received a $1 million grant to develop an innovative network of Educators of Color and learning scientists who will work together to transform how research and development (R&D) are conducted in education.

This network, to be created in Western Pennsylvania with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is intended to become a national model for implementation.

The primary goal of the Shifting Power initiative is to bring the voices of Educators and Students of Color to the foreground in educational R&D, which is a place where their viewpoints and experiences are often marginalized. They will be co-leaders of an advisory group of 20 people representing K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, museums and other out-of-classroom learning organizations, education research organizations, and education technology providers.

“Educators who work with young people each and every day know what’s working and what’s not in learning spaces. Yet it’s often the questions of researchers that are prioritized in research and development projects that attempt to improve these spaces. By centering the voices of Educators of Color within the Remake Learning network and pairing them with local learning scientists, this project aims to upend this traditional power structure inherent in R&D processes,” said Allyce Pinchback-Johnson, group lead of the Shifting Power Initiative for Remake Learning.

The network will produce more equitable learning opportunities through its inclusive framing, processes, and structures. Educators of Color will have a central role in the design, engagement, and creation of education projects with researchers and the ed-tech community.

“Shifting Power is an important undertaking that will center and uplift the voices, identities, power, and brilliance of Black and Latinx educators,” said Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the Pitt School of Education, Co-Chair of the Remake Learning Council, and co-principal investigator on this grant.

“Our network will ensure that they play a leading role in the educational innovations that improve the spaces where our young people learn. We are proud to partner with Remake Learning and the Gates Foundation on this ambitious endeavor, which supports our School’s mission to ignite learning and to strive for well-being for all,” said Kinloch.

Many of the expected partners in the Shifting Power network will come from the connections that Remake Learning and the Pitt School of Education have formed across the greater Pittsburgh region. They will include higher education institutions, educational technology developers, research institutions located within the greater Pittsburgh region, and more.

Another goal of the Shifting Power initiative is to support Black and Latinx educators who are already using just and equitable models and practices. This will ensure that these best practices are documented and become part of the larger research and development pipeline.

In addition, the project will support researchers who are seeking a better understanding of the ways that justice and equity must be integral parts of their work.

The collaboration builds on the strong pre-existing partnership between the Pitt School of Education and Remake Learning. Both entities are committed to the disruption and transformation of inequitable educational structures.

More Information

Margo Shear Fischgrund, University of Pittsburgh News

Jackie Johns, Remake Learning

View Media Coverage

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – $1 million grant to fund initiative to boost minorities in educational research and development