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Making the most impact in the battle against inequity

  • Dean Drescher

Dean Drescher’s parents were always straight up with her and her sisters about their privilege. She credits that as the foundation of her awareness, and what she now calls the chip on her shoulder about inequity.

“The notion of some people getting more or thinking they have more worth or some kind of perceived sense of superiority never sat well with me. When I was teaching in New Orleans, I saw, every day, for four years how that notion has manifested in our education systems. And when I battled within myself to come out of the closet, I saw how that notion had manifested in me.”

Dean believes that each person committed to the fight against inequity has to position themselves to make the most impact, or inequity will keep winning.

That is why she decided to make the transition from the classroom to policy work and applied for the LEE Public Policy Fellowship.

“The Public Policy Fellowship gives me practical experience in California’s education policy world, plus the advocacy skills I’ll need to keep the ball rolling. Through the fellowship, I have also a coach, which has been awesome. There is something powerful about having someone simultaneously encouraging you to be better while harboring an unwavering belief in your potential.”

Dean is spending nine months in this paid, full-time fellowship where she is immersed in high-impact policy work. In her role at EdVoices, Dean is exposed to a variety of ways to approach the fight for educational equity.

“I do all kinds of work — from data analysis to legislation tracking to public messaging to strategic thinking around elections. In the process, I’ve become passionate about what my boss calls the “drumbeat” — the idea that there must be a constant voice advocating for students in spaces where students aren’t always authentically advocated for. If no one speaks up, if no one writes the story, if no one asks the question, if no one testifies at the board meeting, or if no one confronts the legislator, students lose out and inequity wins.”

If you are interested in accelerating your policy and advocacy career, apply for the Public Policy Fellowship by March 31.