Researcher and Policy Analyst or Associate – Early Childhood Learning

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Who We Are

The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) is a national organization that conducts and communicates independent, high-quality research to shape education policies and improve learning for each and every child. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, LPI connects policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels with the evidence, ideas, and actions needed to strengthen the pre-k to grade 12 education system and address the complex realities facing public schools and their communities. Working with policymakers, researchers, educators, community groups, and others who care about improving public schools, the Institute advances evidence-based policies that support empowering and equitable learning for all children.

The Position

LPI seeks a Researcher and Policy Analyst or Associate to join its team of research, policy, and communication staff to support LPI’s portfolio of early learning research. The ideal candidate will have experience contributing to high-quality, mixed-methods research projects, ideally case studies, and will understand how to summarize, interpret, and apply research for policy audiences and strategies to advance evidence-based education policies and practices, with a passion for ensuring that all children have a high-quality education. More senior candidates are also encouraged to apply, and, if hired, will be given a title commensurate with their experience.

The Researcher and Policy Analyst or Associate will contribute to and lead tasks on research and policy projects as part of the early childhood learning team with a focus on one or more of the following topics: developing well-qualified, well-supported early educators, coaches, and administrators; bolstering policies for increasing access to high-quality early learning; building and enhancing quality improvement systems; and understanding the costs and funding mechanisms for early childhood learning; among others. Our research and policy agenda is shaped by policymakers’ needs, our commitment to an equitable education for all, and policy opportunities. Since all of our work is meant to inform policymaking, typical projects are focused on answering current policy questions and conducted on a fairly intensive time frame. The nature of our research efforts reflects the specific questions we are addressing and the strength of the existing research base. When solid research is available, we conduct rigorous syntheses. When secondary data sets are available, we conduct secondary analyses. When necessary, we launch original data collection—primarily surveys and case studies. LPI’s current early childhood education portfolio focuses in large part on California, and this position would be based out of LPI’s Palo Alto, CA office.

The Researcher and Policy Analyst or Associate will support and help to manage one or more research projects and tasks, which will include contributing to the research design and applying content knowledge and appropriate research procedures to carry out data collection, analysis, and reporting. We seek someone who can work well as part of a team, has strong project management skills, and knowledge of early childhood education research and policy. The successful candidate will work collaboratively with the immediate early childhood learning research and policy team, other research and policy staff, communications staff, the leadership team, and external organizations.

Major Responsibilities

  • Contribute to LPI’s early childhood research and policy work.
  • Contribute to and help to manage one or more research tasks within larger projects. This includes working with the team on research design, organizing and carrying out data collection and analysis tasks, and contributing to briefs, articles, monographs, blog posts, and other research and policy communication efforts.
  • Perform policy analysis, develop policy recommendations that are well-grounded in educational research, and advance evidence-based policies that are aligned with LPI’s policy priority areas. This includes contributing to written policy briefs, statements, public comments, letters, and memoranda that summarize, interpret, and apply research for a range of audiences, for informing, monitoring, and reporting policy and research conversation across government, media, think tanks, academia, and advocates.
  • Understand state legislative, executive, and administrative processes and procedures and identify opportunities for policy advancement.
  • Attend and represent LPI at relevant meetings, symposia, and conferences and make public presentations on behalf of the organization.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with other researchers, stakeholder groups, and policymakers.

Qualifications and Experience

The ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • For associate level, master’s degree with one or more years of relevant experience or bachelor’s degree with three or more years of relevant experience; for analyst level, Ph.D/Ed.D/JD or master’s degree with three or more years of relevant experience or bachelor’s degree with five or more years of relevant experience (title will be commensurate with experience).
  • Experience contributing to policy-oriented research, including organizing and carrying out data collection and analysis tasks; experience contributing to qualitative or mixed method research studies desirable.
  • Prior experience in contributing to the development and advancement of legislative, executive, and/or administrative policy, and the demonstrated ability to effectively conduct, analyze, synthesize, translate, and communicate education research to policymakers.
  • Experience contributing to memos, publications, and/or reports, preferably in early childhood education.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to manage and coordinate several projects simultaneously, support team members, and track complex tasks across multiple stakeholders.
  • Knowledge of p–12 education issues and existing relationships in the field.
  • Knowledge of and experience working in state and federal education policy arenas; knowledge of California policy preferred.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Must be authorized to work in the United States for any employer.

Dispositions

The ideal candidate will possess many of the following dispositions:

  • Passion for and commitment to LPI’s mission.
  • Passion for ensuring that all children receive empowering and equitable learning, especially historically underserved students.
  • A commitment to supporting the learning of other team members.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan effectively and the flexibility to handle the unexpected.
  • Self-starter mentality and the ability to both work independently and foster collaborative working relationships, and to work well in a team setting.
  • Ability to execute and exhibit good judgment.
  • An optimistic outlook and a flexible, innovative nature.

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, short writing sample, and three professional references here. Candidates invited to continue through the interview process will be asked to complete a job-related task/performance assessment at that time. 


The Learning Policy Institute has a deep commitment to its staff’s health and well-being and strives to embody the organization’s values within the organizational structure. LPI offers competitive compensation and benefits; prioritizes and provides financial support for professional development; supports diversity, equity, and inclusion work; and values a collaborative culture. LPI is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Candidates must be up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations in order to work onsite in the office.