The organization: Data Science 4 Everyone (DS4E) is a national initiative, coalition, and organization that seeks to prepare our nation’s youth to succeed in a world filled with information and data. The brainchild of Freakonomics author and University of Chicago professor Steve Levitt, the organization has experienced astronomical growth since 2019. Now with a full-time staff, diverse resources for educators, and a strong presence in events and media, DS4E is a key influencer creating education change.
The need: DS4E knew that engaging a robust community of data science education supporters would be vital for the organization’s efforts and overall success. Beyond growing a diverse, cross-sector community of data science advocates, DS4E wanted to ensure that members of their coalition were harnessing their efforts to create change and position the need for data science education in the public eye.
Our role: The Learning Agency has worked alongside DS4E from the organization’s beginning as we supported building an impactful coalition advancing data science education. Our collaboration has fostered an active community with nearly 3,000 members, policy champions at the state and federal levels, increased funding for data science programs, and a resource center with numerous resources for creating and sustaining data science programming. Specific efforts include:
- Two large-scale Commitments Campaigns. These activities generated commitments to action from stakeholders in industry, education, and philanthropy that expanded data science education and catalyzed change. Commitments from key players like NetApp, the National Science Foundation, and the states of Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, and Utah impacted 5 million students, 100,000 teachers, and over 8,000 school districts. Each campaign culminated in a virtual conference, which attracted more than 900 combined registrants, and featured key speakers like Dominique Duval-Diop from the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter, and US Senator Alex Padilla.
- Monthly virtual panels on hot topics in data science education. In order to drive conversation and debate in a still emerging field, DS4E began hosting regular convenings with leading speakers on pressing topics such as data science in higher education, incorporating data science skills into regular classroom instruction, and how data science intersects with fields such as artificial intelligence. Our monthly events regularly attract over 250 registrants and have been fundamental to growing diverse audiences within the coalition. The team also distributes certificates of completion to attendees for use towards professional development hours.
- Media coverage, speaking engagements, and publications. Our team worked to ensure that the need for data science skills was centered in education conversations. For example, DS4E director Zarek Drozda authored a pivotal report on declining student data skills, which was featured in Education Week. Our team supported the creation of the report and collaborated in creating a media strategy to make sure the report got the coverage it deserved. We also support the visibility of coalition members. Whether it was publishing an op-ed or coordinating speaking engagements, we have pushed for DS4E coalition members to be at the forefront and creating impact.