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Understanding How School Districts Are Responding to Political Polarization

Students line up on socially distanced dots painted on the sidewalk to wait their turn to have their temperatures checked before entering Middletown High School, photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages/<a href="">CC BY-NC 4.0</a>

Students line up on socially distanced dots painted on the sidewalk to wait their turn to have their temperatures checked before entering Middletown High School.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages/CC BY-NC 4.0

Event Details


Tuesday, February 7, 2023


3–3:30 p.m. ET / Noon–12:30 p.m. PT

How to Join:

Details on attending the event will be sent to registered attendees.


Registration for this event has closed.


The American School District Panel is hosting a 30-min webinar to share what teachers and district leaders nationally are saying about political polarization in schools. This webinar will cover where political polarization is taking the largest toll on educators, what actions districts have taken that they say has reduced polarization, and we’ll offer recommendations for state and district leaders.

The RAND Corporation and the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) will present the findings from their latest nationally representative survey data and interviews with district leaders.


Heather Schwartz

Heather Schwartz

Heather Schwartz is the director of the Pre-K to 12 educational systems program and a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. She also co-directs the American School District Panel. She researches education and housing policies intended to reduce the negative effects of poverty on children and families. She leads mixed-method studies with experimental and non-experimental designs, and her methodological skills include survey design, qualitative data collection methods, and benefit-cost analyses. Schwartz earned her Ph.D. in education policy from Columbia University.

Melissa Diliberti

Melissa Diliberti

Melissa Kay Diliberti is an assistant policy researcher at RAND and a Ph.D. candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She analyzes data from RAND's American Educator Panels to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the U.S. education system. Her research interests include domestic and international education policy. Prior to joining Pardee RAND, she was a researcher at the American Institutes for Research, where she provided analysis support to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Diliberti has an M.P.P. from the George Washington University and a B.A. in political science and international studies from the University of Michigan.

Ashley Woo

Ashley Woo

Ashley Woo is an assistant policy researcher at RAND and a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research interests include wealth and income inequality, educational equity, neighborhood and school segregation, teacher recruitment and retention, education curriculum, and standards-based school reform. Prior to joining Pardee RAND, she worked for KIPP LA Schools, where she taught 2nd grade at a South Los Angeles charter school. In addition, she is a Teach for America alumna, having completed two years of teaching at a Title I elementary school in Miami, Florida. As a former educator, she is experienced in standards-based and data-driven instruction, curriculum design, and tailoring teaching methods to support specific academic and social-emotional student needs. She has a B.A. in political economy and a minor in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also conducted research on how American educational outcomes compare to those of other wealthy, industrialized nations in terms of both equity and levels of student achievement.

Ashley Jochim

Ashley Jochim

Ashley Jochim is a principal at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), where her research focuses on identifying opportunities and obstacles to addressing systemic challenges in K–12 schools. A political scientist by training, Jochim is an expert on education governance, the politics of education policy, and the unexpected challenges that come with translating good ideas into practice. She has conducted research on state education agencies, K–12 accountability, Common Core standards, personalized learning, school choice, district reform efforts, and most recently, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to working at CRPE, she was a graduate fellow at the Center for American Politics and Public Policy at the University of Washington, as well as a research analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. Jochim holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology and a Ph.D. in political science, both from the University of Washington.

Register for This Program

Please register online to attend. Contact Samantha DiNicola with questions about the event.