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Key Stakeholders: WHO Uses Data for Advocacy?

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To understand how best to leverage data for advocacy purposes, it is first necessary to identify key stakeholders and understand the types of data that they can access. Leaders, educators, students, families, and community members have a vested interest in making sure education best supports all learners. The challenge is ensuring stakeholders have the right evidence or concrete data to inform their advocacy position, support their claims, and measure progress toward improvement. The table below illustrates different stakeholder groups with different data needs. Depending on their position – as well as federal, state, and local data privacy policies – they also may have varying levels of access to (and familiarity with) data.


Stakeholder RoleAccess to Data
District administrators are responsible for developing and implementing policies driven by data. They actively use data to identify trends across schools, grade levels, and subgroups to examine student experiences and needs. Given their position inside of a district, they have the greatest access to data.
  • Demographic, academic, and behavior data for all students from internal databases, dashboards, and learning platforms.
  • Internal records for individual students including counselor notes, teacher reports, and other relevant sources.
  • Data from external sources such as state or national departments of education or publicly available dashboards.
School leaders use data to identify and address the needs of their students, inform families, and partner with stakeholders to ensure students receive a high-quality and equitable education. They also use data to support their teachers by identifying opportunities for professional learning as well as needed resources and materials.
  • Demographic, academic, and behavior data for the students in their building from internal databases, dashboards, and learning platforms.
  • Internal school records for their students including counselor notes, teacher reports, and other relevant sources.
  • Aggregate data from the district.
  • Data from external sources such as state or national departments of education or publicly available dashboards.
Teachers use data to identify and understand trends for their students, promote positive culture and climate, and effectively communicate with their students’ families.
  • Academic and behavior data that they collect for their students.
  • Demographic and historical data for the students they serve, accessed through internal databases, dashboards, and learning platforms.
  • Internal school records for their students including counselor notes, other teachers’ reports, and other relevant sources, as appropriate.
  • Data from external sources such as state or national departments of education or publicly available dashboards.
Families are deeply interested in data to advocate for their students’ academic success, make informed decisions, and identify needed supports.
  • Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), families can request all available data for their child, including academic, attendance, and behavior data as well as any written reports until their child turns 18 or unless otherwise specified by another legal justification.
  • Aggregate and de-identified data accessed via an Open Records Request (varies by state and district).
  • Data from external sources such as state or national departments of education or publicly available dashboards.
Community advocates – specific members of community groups who specialize in advocacy work – use data to support their arguments for equity and social justice.
  • Aggregate and de-identified data accessed via an Open Records Request (varies by state and district).
  • Data from external sources such as state or national departments of education or publicly available dashboards.
Students have a vested interest in their education and can leverage data to advocate for improvements to their own learning. They may seek data to bolster their claims and influence decision-making that directly affects them.
  • Their own learning progress data including grades, test scores, attendance records, and others.
  • Aggregate and de-identified data accessed via an Open Records Request (varies by state and district).
  • Data from external sources such as state or national departments of education or publicly available dashboards.

Stakeholders internal to the district (e.g., administrators, teachers) will have greater access to data than external stakeholders (e.g., families, community advocates). However, all groups can request data to surface trends, bolster claims, and inform decisions.

Complete Activity 1 in the Data Advocacy Reflection and Planning Workbook to identify your role in data advocacy, identify data that you have access to, and create a data collection plan.

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