National education policy operates on a very broad scale at a correspondingly slow pace, and serves many powerful competing interests, so Montessori is a very small piece of a much bigger conversation. Still, organized voices have an opportunity to influence the conversation, and policies ultimately have a very real effect on Montessori implementation. Some national policy topics that concern Montessori:
- The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, the successor to No Child Left Behind (NCLB))
- Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
- Universal preschool
Because education is largely a state and local activity in the U.S., policies that directly affect Montessori schools (both public and independent) are often set at the state level. (Federal Head Start and Early Head Start programming are notable exceptions.) And because every state has its own government, organizations, and rules, it’s mostly a different set of circumstances from state to state.
A number of Montessori organizations support and direct advocacy at the national, state, and local levels.
National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector:
Montessori Public Policy Initiative:
MPPI is a collaboration between the Association Montessori Internationale-USA (AMI-USA) and AMS organized to coordinate and support Montessori advocacy at the national, state, and local levels, across the Montessori community. MPPI helps coordinate the work of state level AMI-USA/AMS advocacy coalitions. MPPI worked with AMI-USA and AMS to develop the Montessori Essentials, a document defining essential elements of a Montessori program for policy makers.
Montessori for Social Justice:
MSJ is a network of parents, educators, and community members dedicated to two goals:
- expanding access to Montessori for students of color, low income students, English Language learners, and special needs students, and demonstrating Montessori’s efficacy with these populations
- advancing social justice within the Montessori community by increasing diversity and extending cultural competency in Montessori teachers