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History of IDEA

Jeannie Oakes and John Rogers

Jeannie Oakes & John Rogers founded UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA) in 2000 with the goal of using UCLA’s research capacity and commitment to confront what may be the most pressing public issue in Los Angeles and in California today: bringing neighbors together across the many communities of Los Angeles to address the critical problems of public education. IDEA faculty, postdoctoral scholars, staff, and graduate students partner with young people, parents, teachers, and grassroots organizations to conduct research on the conditions of education and the challenges to educational change.


IDEA provides data and analyses in response to specific questions posed by the people who are most directly affected by schooling—students and their parents. To make these data and analyses useful, IDEA shares its knowledge of research methods and facilitates connections among members of grassroots organizations, media professionals, researchers, and policy makers. IDEA’s research has focused on such varied topics as 1) equity litigation seeking to provide prepared teachers and adequate facilities, resources, and learning opportunities to schools serving disadvantaged students; 2) the impact of school resources, structure and culture on the school success and college access of African American and Latino/a students; 3) activities through which parents and community members hold the education system accountable for ensuring the quality and equity; 4) supports for urban teachers seeking to become leaders of reform networks, developers of community-based urban curriculum; advocates for students; and organizers of teacher-community reform alliances; and 5) efforts to increase college access, retention, and success of low-income students of color; 6) the role of youth research in developing academic and civic skills and shaping public policy.

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