Meet the Supporters: Policymakers | Bellwether Education Partners Skip to main content

You are here

Reimagining the Road to Graduation

The Need for Extraordinary Systems to Get Students to and Through College

Who assists students on their journey to and through college and career, and how can they work together to build better systems of support?


Counselors & College Access Organizations   /   K-12 Staff   /   Higher Education Staff   /   Families   /   Peers   /   Employers & Community-based Organizations   /   Policymakers   /   Funders & Intermediaries




State and federal policymakers set rules that govern financial aid, high school graduation requirements, and opportunities for students to engage in early college and career opportunities, but a patchwork of state policies and political polarization nationally have been impediments to widespread adoption of successful initiatives. 

“I want policymakers to understand: The outcome is more important than the process. Data are just numbers. Don't focus just on data, but add some qualitative understanding to improve decision-making.” —Student

Common Pitfalls That Policymakers Face
  • Lack of political will among elected officials.
  • Competing draws on limited financial resources. 
  • Divided electorate.
Mindset Shifts to Help Policymakers Better Target Their Support
  • Champion accountability for student success in navigating toward college and careers and for the system as a whole.
  • Listen to the concerns and stories of students and families.
  • Listen to K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and community-based and college-access organizations to understand the challenges they face and their existing capacity to address those challenges.
Opportunities to Build a More Coherent System in Concert with Adults
  • Lead or coordinate systemwide actions that individual organizations are not capable of undertaking.
  • Hold other actors accountable for collaborating with each other. 
  • Inspire communities to align around policies that promote student success.
Further Reading
  • View a complete list of concrete recommendations for policymakers here.  
Meet the Supporters
Who supports students on their journey to and through college and career? What mindset shifts can these supporters make to better coordinate high school, postsecondary, and workforce systems?