Urban Institute Announces Josephine Bias Robinson to Lead DC Education Research Collaborative

Contact: Alex Tilsley, atilsley@urban.org or (202) 261-5828

June 30, 2021 – Josephine Bias Robinson will join the Urban Institute on July 12, 2021, as the Executive Director of the DC Education Research Collaborative. The Collaborative is a consortium of 15 organizations, housed at the Urban Institute, that will lead a new education research-practice partnership in the District.

Bias Robinson brings more than 20 years of experience advancing health, educational, and economic outcomes for children and families. She has served as the Chief of Family and Public Engagement for the District of Columbia Public Schools, where she helped launch the Empowering Males of Color Initiative and open Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, the District’s first all-male public high school. In that role, Bias Robinson also codesigned and facilitated numerous citywide engagement processes, designed to give stakeholders input into critical issues, such as school closures and boundary revisions. She has held positions in the White House, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the HSC Health Care System, and the United Way Worldwide and has directed the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

“Josephine knows how to bring changemakers from all corners together in pursuit of a common goal,” said Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell. “As the District and its schools work to recover from the pandemic and make opportunities and outcomes more equitable, Josephine’s expertise will help ensure research, practice, and policy are working hand-in-hand on behalf of DC’s students.”

As Executive Director of the Collaborative, Bias Robinson will leverage her experience in community engagement and consensus-building to help education practitioners, policymakers, and researchers develop and execute a research agenda whose results will empower decisionmakers to provide more equitable and impactful educational opportunities.

“In bringing these esteemed institutions and education stakeholders together, this independent research-practice partnership is an opportunity to deliver the knowledge, practices, and tools equitably, collectively, and collaboratively to best position our students for success,” Bias Robinson said. “More importantly, the commitment to undertake this work in partnership with our families and community to ensure what we produce is relevant and actionable in our schools is what I am most excited about.”

Formed in response to legislation from the DC Council, the Collaborative will be the research arm of DC’s research-practice partnership, working closely with a 21-member advisory committee and with education stakeholders throughout the District. The Collaborative’s mission is to provide everyone with a stake in the success of DC public and public charter school students with robust, accurate information to support decisions that improve outcomes and advance equity.

In addition to Urban, the members of the Collaborative are American University’s School of Education, Bellwether Education Partners, the Brookings Institution, DC Policy Center, EmpowerK12, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University’s School of Education, Mathematica, Raise DC/Venture Philanthropy Partners, Trinity Washington University, the University of the District of Columbia, the University of Maryland, and the University of Virginia’s EdPolicyWorks.

The nonprofit Urban Institute is a leading research organization dedicated to developing evidence-based insights that improve people’s lives and strengthen communities. For 50 years, Urban has been the trusted source for rigorous analysis of complex social and economic issues; strategic advice to policymakers, philanthropists, and practitioners; and new, promising ideas that expand opportunities for all. Our work inspires effective decisions that advance fairness and enhance the well-being of people and places.