State Level
Coalition Work

January 2014

As advocacy work continues to expand across the United States, the joint AMI/USA and AMS public policy committee are in the final stages of hiring a Public Policy Coordinator. From a pool of 12 candidates, the search was narrowed down to two individuals who both exhibit strong qualities and much vested interest. The addition of staff for expanding the advocacy work will help support the growing body of work in the state coalitions as they strive to enlarge their coalitions and accomplish their goals. QRIS is an important initiative for most states, and work in this area will be a focus.

As evidenced through the feedback during our monthly webinars, and increasing number of requests for support in the states, issues affecting early childhood education policy are more pronounced than ever. This is creating significant opportunities for Montessori advocates and educators to be part of efforts to better inform policy makers and stakeholders about how the Montessori method fits into this debate.

Lastly, there will be two opportunities for individuals interested in learning more about Montessori advocacy and Montessori in the public sector at this year’s Refresher Course in Houston. For more information, or to register, click here.

A Joint AMI/USA and AMS Project

We are increasingly focusing on advocacy to improve the regulatory environment for Montessori education, to acquaint and obtain the endorsement of the mainstream academic world with Montessori education, and educate the public about the fruits of Montessori education according to Dr. Montessori’s standards.

In March 2012 AMI/USA hired Jaye Espy as the Public Policy Project Manager. Jaye’s initial task was to conduct a pilot project in six states—Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, and Texas—to map out state Montessori coalitions that will raise Montessori awareness in key sectors of society. Having established those coalitions, Illinois and South Carolina were added in January 2013. Jaye has helped the coalitions communicate with elected and regulator officials in order to present the case for widespread recognition and establishment of Montessori education in both the public and private sections, with an eye towards both removal of legal obstacles to Montessori education and affirmative support of it.

Early in 2013 the advocacy network was built out to include tier II states– Arizona, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Tennessee. The pilot state coalitions that were open and willing to share their strategies for success passed along their best practices to the new group of states.

AMI and AMS representatives met in Cleveland early May 2013 to discuss the way forward for the State Public Policy Project. Expanding the coalitions of pilot states to include schools, teachers, parents, and community members was the goal agreed upon, with efforts being focused on the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that concentrates on using rating and improvement strategies to increase and support the quality of care in state education systems.

The work that each state is currently engaged in is outlined below.


Pilot States

      • Connecticut
      • Colorado
      • Georgia
      • Illinois
      • Maryland
      • Minnesota
      • South Carolina
      • Texas

Tier II States

        • Arizona
        • Florida
        • Michigan
        • New York
        • North Carolina
        • Ohio
        • Oregon
        • Tennessee

Tier III States

        • Delaware
        • Massachusetts
        • Washington
        • Washington D.C.

Meet Jaye Espy

Jaye Espy is the Public Policy Project Manager at AMI/USA.

Her credentials include positions at the United States Education Delivery Institute where, as the State Engagement Director, she managed implementation of K12 Race to the Top policy initiatives in Tennessee and Delaware (both winners) and The College Board where she served as the K12 Education Manager, then later as the State and Federal Policy Director, creating and implementing Congressional lobbying strategy for policies for advanced learning initiatives.

Jaye earned a B.A. from Howard University and an M.A. in educational leadership from the University of Mississippi.