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How ACT and The Hunt Institute are Working Together to Advance Equity in Education

The Hunt Institute CEO Javaid Siddiqi pictured alongside title of blog post: How ACT and The Hunt Institute are Working Together to Advance Equity in Education
ACT and The Hunt Institute are mission-aligned on closing gaps in education equity, opportunity, and achievement. Stay tuned for opportunities to engage with both organizations as we work together to provide equal access to high-quality education and improve education and career outcomes for all students, regardless of race/ethnicity, income and other demographic characteristics.

How is The Hunt Institute working to advance education equity? Are there any specific programs you have to do so?

The Hunt Institute was founded 20 years ago by Governor Jim Hunt to provide policymakers and changemakers all the tools necessary to bring about an equitable education for all learners, so equity is intentionally integrated into all of our programming.

Our flagship program, the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, named for Governors Jim Hunt and Tom Kean – champions of education and bipartisanship – has cultivated leaders whose agendas have a prominent focus on education. ElevateNC: Higher Education brings together leaders determined to further build a pipeline to postsecondary education. Our Belk Impact Fellows program is designed for college students who are focused on social impact, working at organizations whose main focus is improving educational equity.

The racial unrest that took place in the spring of 2020 caused us to further amplify issues of inequity via a Race & Education webinar series that has zeroed in on issues of systemic racism in the education system. We will continue to provide this space to magnify these issues in hopes of developing solutions.

Our most recent work revolves around an initiative to add one million teachers of color to the workforce over the next decade, and we are hoping to involve U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in this effort.

What is the aim and value of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows and ElevateNC: Higher Education program to your equity work?

Both of these programs target elected officials who are heading on to higher office. We recognize that while in office policymakers have many priorities and we want education to be at the top of that list. Convenings offer participants the opportunity to learn from experts across the field of education and our goal is for them to take that new knowledge base and apply it to their current and future agendas. We also are eager to partner with participants who have equity priorities they need support in amplifying.

What has been the reach and impact of the programs, and how are they affecting women and women of color?

The Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program boasts almost 150 total Fellows from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. We have been intentional in including the voices of women of color in all of our cohorts and will continue to do so. The inaugural cohort of Elevate NC is a diverse group of policymakers, practitioners, advocates, and stakeholders from across North Carolina whose work all touch on higher education policy.

Dr. Siddiqi is President & CEO of The Hunt Institute, an education think tank based in Cary, North Carolina. He previously served as Virginia’s Secretary of Education, and is a former teacher, principal, and school board member.

Past Work

Watch The Hunt Institute’s webinar, Supporting Innovation in Education: Helping Students Succeed During a Pandemic, featuring our very own Tina Gridiron (ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning) as a panelist.

Read The Hunt Institute’s blog about the Center’s work with Univision to identify the perceptions of, and barriers to, postsecondary participation among Hispanic students and their parents.

Upcoming Events

  • ACT CEO Janet Godwin will moderate a discussion at the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program in New Mexico on August 12.
  • The Hunt Institute CEO Javaid Siddiqi will speak to ACT team members about his perspective on systemic issues facing people of color, individuals from low-income households and students with disabilities within the realm of education.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog, featuring women who have participated in The Hunt Institute’s programs.