Centering the voices, knowledge, and skills of Black and Latinx educators in educational research

A cohort of 20 educators and 20 researchers are participating in the design and implementation of an innovative equity-focused research process that positions Black and Latinx educators as research leaders.

Why do we need to shift power in educational research and development?

Black and Latinx educators must be better supported to lead conversations about improving educational practice, in particular for Black and Latinx youth. Their experiences, points of view, challenges, and curiosities must be centered in any research conducted to inform practice, policy, and innovation.

In contrast, however, educational research is typically driven by the needs and objectives of (largely White) researchers who bring their questions, gather data, and leave with the learnings. Too often, those learnings do not return to serve the very educators and students who informed the research.

About the Initiative

Shifting Power in Educational Research and Development (Shifting Power) aims to shift these traditional power dynamics that are inherent in many research and development (R&D) infrastructures. Shifting Power is a collaborative initiative between Remake Learning and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

At the start of the 2020-21 school year, 20 Black and Latinx educators will be paired with 20 researchers across institutions in Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Together, these teams will co-develop and implement research projects in the educators’ learning spaces. With the support of their research partner and a deeply place-based, emancipatory R&D infrastructure (based on the work of Dr. Temple Lovelace), participating educators will be positioned to lead and solve their own problems of practice.

In addition to their research projects, participants will engage in a number of learning opportunities hosted by the PittEd Justice Collective to grow in their racial consciousness and ability to lead conversations about education practice and research.

By providing connections, resources, and a platform, the participating Black and Latinx educators will be positioned to directly influence local R&D in education. As we learn together, it is the hope that this process will inform equity-centered R&D processes nationwide.

Participants and Progress

Our 2020-21 cohort includes 20 Black and Latinx PreK-12 educators, including classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, out-of-school providers, and youth workers, as well as 20 university-based, non-profit, and independent researchers and learning scientists. To date, individuals have partnered up and begun developing their research questions and projects.

Explore highlights of their projects grounded in the concepts of equity, justice, and transformative R&D:


Research on Culturally Sustaining STEAM (Maya Angelou Learning Community)

Research on Educator Development and Lenses for Practice (Toni Morrison Learning Community)

Research on Culturally Sustaining Curricula (Toni Cade Bambara Learning Community)

Research on Student Engagement (June Jordan Learning Community)

Research on Liberatory Practice (Audre Lorde Learning Community)