State-Level Implementation Challenges and Recommendations for Data Equity

by Natalie Truong

For decades, the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community has advocated for increased visibility of our diverse communities through data equity. These efforts include asking state education agencies and local school districts to collect and report disaggregated data for the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) ethnicities and publicly report how these youth are doing in schools. Through the years, local partners and community-based organizations have campaigned successfully to pass data disaggregation laws across several key states. 

Students from North Seattle Community College pose with signs in support of the All Students Count Act. (Photos courtesy of the All Students Count Campaign)


Because of these successes, we now have more information on how to advocate and advance data equity policies. The National Data Equity Working Group, comprising organizations and advocates, have identified critical progress, opportunities, and ongoing challenges to expanding data collection and categories used in state and national agencies. This month, in honor of AANAPISI Week, the Working Group published a short brief that highlights recommendations for advocates looking to implement data equity policy. 

These recommendations include: 

  • Setting a strong vision and mission for data equity early on;
  • Building a grassroots movement of and for communities that need to be represented in state data systems and policy decisions;
  • Engaging with diverse stakeholders, including communities affected by policy change,; 
  • Identifying opportunities to find policy champions for data equity policy;
  • Embedding strategic communications for a local or state-level  campaign; and, 
  • Setting expectations on implementation early on to ensure data disaggregation policies have teeth and agents can implement with fidelity.

We hope this resource will be useful to students, parents, educators, and all advocates for data equity in our school systems and education policies. SEARAC will continue to serve as a resource for the Southeast Asian American community who may have questions about engaging in data disaggregation in education. 


Natalie is SEARAC’s Education Policy Manager. You can email her here.