Education policy analysts are tasked with researching and interpreting educational policies and their effects on students, teachers and communities. They often research policies related to class size, teacher to student ratios, teacher salaries, adult education trends and job training for low income workers.
An education policy analyst will analyze and synthesize research on current issues in order to produce education articles, news items, policies, white papers, policy briefs and recommendations. A large portion of their time is spent reading and evaluating professional publications in order to create clear and concise reports. They prepare presentations on various education policy topics for academia, educators, think tanks, professional organizations and government agencies. They assist in the development and collection of data from surveys, focus groups, data bases and web analytical tools.
Education policy analysts monitor policy trends, innovations, legislative issues and upcoming changes in regulations. They maintain a comprehensive understanding of the public and private education industries. They may be asked to compare state laws with local district policies, or identify connections between national and local issues. Education policy analysts may work for state Departments of Education formulating long-term strategies, departmental objectives and advisory positions to new laws. They attend and represent their organization on external committees, board meetings, schools commissions, city councils and advisory groups.
Education policy analysts will need any combination of training and experience that equals a master’s degree. They will need to have completed coursework in policy analysis, public policy development, educational research, education leadership and political science. Most education policy analysts have two to five years of experience related to education policy, practice, research and analysis. Experience with conducting meetings, coordinating workshops and facilitating presentations is preferred.
Educational policy analysts need to be familiar with school boards, districts and organizations. They will need to know their state’s education system and know the current education policies and practices. Education policy analysts must be familiar with federal, state, and local government organizations. They need to know research methods, analysis techniques, planning studies and investigation processes. They must be able to clearly and accurately summarize key points and connections in education policy reports. They need to provide end users with a well-informed, objective and balanced perspective on a range of education-related topics.
Most education policy analysts will have a master’s degree in education policy or administration. These degrees teach students how to understand policy, lead organizations and create more equitable and excellent school systems. Students learn how to become transformative leaders in education reform through gaining an in-depth knowledge of education policy and the best practices in organizational management. The mission of most programs is to produce graduates who understand the strengths, challenges and opportunities of current public education policies and systems.
Most graduates go on to work in national nonprofits, state governments, policy think tanks and large school districts. The curriculum of education policy degree programs balance policy, research and management perspectives. They may study issues related to racial and economic achievement gaps, the role of charter schools in education reform or grassroots leadership in social change. They may also study how to encourage entrepreneurship in education and leverage data to improve teaching and learning outcomes.
Related Resource: Educational Consultant
Education policy analysts are administrators who review regulations in order to promote positive change and growth.