Senior Manager, K-12 Policy

ROLE: Senior Manager, K-12 Policy

LOCATION: Washington, DC (remote negotiable)

POSITION TYPE: Exempt, Full-time

START DATE: Spring 2024

REPORTS TO: Vice President for K-12 Policy


We are seeking a Senior Manager of K-12 Policy to research, develop, and analyze pre-K through 12th grade education policies at the federal, state, and local levels within, but not limited to, the following policy focus areas:

  • Assessment, accountability, and college and career readiness
  • Public school choice, including public charter schools
  • Human capital, including: educator preparation, compensation, placement, and promotion
  • Resource equity
  • Innovation/R & D


Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a national political organization that supports elected Democrats and candidates for office who seek to expand policies and practices that work well for America’s students and confront those that do not. We are education progressives who prioritize students and families, especially low-income students and students of color who should be better served by our country’s public education system.

DFER partner Education Reform Now Advocacy (ERNA) is an advocacy group that advances education reform measures through empowering community leaders to support our legislative and political advocacy work. ERNA keeps constant pressure on legislators to champion high-quality public education.

DFER partner Education Reform Now (ERN) is a nonpartisan think tank that promotes increased resources and innovative reforms in K-16 public education, particularly for students of color and students from low-income families.


1. Support for Progressive Education Leaders — In an approach that is markedly different from our peers and partners in the field, DFER engages directly with candidates and elected officials to empower them to advocate for education policies that focus foremost on serving students. Our partner organization, Education Reform Now, does work that involves policy research, analysis and education that helps policy makers at all levels understand complex education issues and make informed decisions.

2. Informing the Education Debate — Our coalition work reflects the breadth of our policy priorities. We work collaboratively with organizations and our community networks to create an education system that is held accountable to all kids and families.

3. Targeted Interventions and Rapid Response — DFER’s reach from the most local district relationships to state and federal policymakers, enables us to respond quickly to the changing landscape and policy trends. Activities vary significantly from project to project and may include training, policy analysis, public engagement, electoral and issue advocacy, and policy guidance for elected officials and local advocates.


1. Develop & advance ERN’s K-12 policy and political agenda with respect to: assessments and accountability; public school choice and public charter schools; human capital, including educator preparation and compensation; research & development; and innovation.

a. Prepare and draft reports and issue briefs;

b. Conduct policy analyses and develop specific recommendations for federal,

state, and local actors;

c. Provide technical assistance to federal, state, and local leaders interested in pursuing a relevant policy agenda, including bill drafting, budget analyses, and impact assessments.

d. Plan and execute associated advocacy campaign activities at the federal, state, and local levels.

2. Monitor, advocate, and influence federal legislation, regulations, and executive action.

a. Work closely with Congressional staff, Department of Education staff, and most actively relevant education and civil rights organizations to protect and advance policies related to K-12 school reform,

b. Draft federal and state legislation; recommendations for regulations and guidance; policy memos; summaries or fact sheets; letters; testimony; talking points; questions for hearings; etc… to support ERN’s agenda.

3. Engage with and learn from education policy and advocacy communities in Washington, DC and beyond with travel to supported ERN states.

4. Write and publish op-eds, blog posts, articles on relevant policies.

a. Comment in traditional print and on social media on relevant policies.

b. Represent staff and speak at public and private briefings.

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications and skills:

  • Strong commitment to racial and social justice
  • At least 3 years experience as an education policy analyst conducting research; writing and editing policy papers; and working with federal or state education actors, such as those working in a federal or state department/agency, on Capitol Hill, in a think tank, or with an advocacy organization;
  • Superior communication skills; ability to craft messages that resonate with multiple audiences; ability to synthesize complex information and ideas into clear, concise, and compelling written materials;
  • Willing and able to search for relevant content and to dive deeply into primary source material
  • Quantitative skills
    • Can quickly analyze complex education data sets using Excel and/or other descriptive statistic software and report conclusions and trends accurately;
    • Inquisitive about using data to better understand policy outcomes and self-motivated to probe facts and figures to learn more;
    • Understands and can apply basic descriptive and inferential statistics concepts (e.g., normal vs. skewed distributions; percentile ranks; statistical significance) and research methodology
  • Relationship and consensus-building skills, including experience working with or managing coalitions; comfort working with both policy experts and novices.
  • Ability to work independently and cooperatively as a part of a DC team connected to a larger organization based in New York and state affiliates throughout the country.
  • Commitment to ERN’s mission of cultivating the next generation of progressive education ideas and leaders.
  • A postgraduate degree is highly preferred, but not necessary for candidates with a demonstrated record of experience and success.


The base salary for this position is $100,000, with the possibility to go higher based on qualifications. DFER is proud to offer excellent benefits: health, vision, and dental coverage; flexible spending plan; life insurance; short- and long-term disability insurance; 401K plan with a match plan; flexible spending/benefits plan; paid family leave; paid time off (vacation, sick time, and all National holidays).


Democrats for Education Reform welcomes applications from all, and strongly encourages women, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees & LGBTQ people to apply for this position. We are committed to maximizing the diversity of our organization and recruiting a team that reflects the diversity of the students we serve.