SPLC’s Children’s Rights Practice Group is dedicated to ensuring that vulnerable children in the Deep South have access to the resources they need—particularly education and health services—to grow and thrive, and that they are neither excluded from nor denied such resources due to their background or characteristics. Vulnerable children in SPLC’s states are pushed into the school to prison pipeline at disproportionate rates, attend school in underresourced education systems, and often have little or no access to vital health services.
The Researcher/Policy Analyst (Southeast Region) is responsible for conducting fact and policy research; reviewing and using that research and data in white papers, reports, and other publications; mapping political and institutional landscape in Southeast region to support multi-year advocacy strategy to advance our Children Rights agenda; closely collaborating with a dedicated data analyst and state-based legal staff; developing policy recommendations to stop the school to prison pipeline, reduce educational inequity, and provide children with access to necessary health services; and working with colleagues to advocate for the implementation of those recommendations in each of SPLC’s states.
This position could be located in one of several SPLC offices, depending on personal circumstances and SPLC needs.
Under the supervision of the Deputy Legal Director, the Researcher/Policy Analyst (Southeast Region) will:
• Oversee SPLC’s children’s rights policy analysis in our states, ensuring high-quality data analyses, development of evidence-based policy options, and effective public and policy-maker education efforts aimed at changing state law, policy and practice;
• Conduct SPLC’s children’s rights policy research, producing high-impact publications (reports, white papers, etc.) related to trends in children’s rights and evaluations of policy reforms;
• Partner with Children’s Rights staff and other internal stakeholders to identify needs, develop strategies, and implement work-plans;
• Identify or create opportunities in county and state governments to improve the administration of the education system and other child-serving systems;
• Establish baselines, monitor implementation, and track the impact of reforms;
• In collaboration with state-based Policy Counsels, develop productive relationships and communication with a wide range of constituencies interested in children’s rights, including policy-makers, education officials and officials at other child-serving agencies, researchers, and advocates;
• Partner with Children’s Rights staff and other internal stakeholders to coordinate and facilitate meetings and collaboration with key stakeholders, agency leadership, and practitioners to consider and design new approaches to the states’ children’s rights challenges;
• Maintain and continue to develop an understanding of emerging children’s rights issues by monitoring publications and participating in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities;
• Partner with Children’s Rights staff and other internal stakeholders to develop communication strategies around campaigns and serve as spokesperson upon request;
• Communicate regularly with SPLC staff across the region about campaigns and strategies;
• Represent SPLC in various forums, including before community groups, legislatures, and state agencies;
• Comply with all federal and state lobbying and ethical rules and requirements; and,
• Other duties as may be assigned to meet SPLC needs.
• A bachelor’s degree is required; advanced degree in education, public policy, law, or other relevant field is required except in unusual circumstances to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis;
• Strong research and analytical skills applied to public policy issues, including an ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue;
• At least six (6) years of experience in public policy, with demonstrated knowledge of at least two of the following areas: the school to prison pipeline (e.g., classroom management, exclusionary discipline, restraint, corporal punishment, alternative schools, school-based law enforcement), educational equity (e.g., school funding, education models differing from traditional public schools, desegregation), and children’s mental health (e.g., EPSDT/Medicaid Act, Olmstead/integration mandate policy, home and community-based services);
• Demonstrated ability to exercise a logical and resourceful approach to evaluating and addressing problems;
• Demonstrated ability to express ideas, thoughts, and concepts clearly and concisely in a compelling way to convince or assist others, both in writing and orally;
• Demonstrated experience developing and moving complex projects forward with a high degree of independence within a creative, fast-paced, action-oriented and collegial environment;
• Ability to establish a systematic course of action to ensure project completion;
• Demonstrated time and project management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization;
• Ability to think strategically and creatively, adjust to changing circumstances, organize time, remain attentive to details and identify resources for projects;
• Demonstrated acute political awareness and non-partisan perspective and approach; and
• Demonstrated ability to build relationships among individuals and organizations with a range of interests and perspectives.
• Experience working with senior policy-makers, education officials/officials at other child-serving agencies, researchers, and other stakeholders;
• A keen understanding of the importance of rigorous, timely, and policy-relevant research; experience undertaking and managing such research; and disseminating it effectively to policymakers, the media, and the public; and
• Experience convening groups of policy-makers, researchers, and other professionals, and supporting their efforts to reach consensus and move toward a desired outcome.
Knowledge, skills and abilities:
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including maturity, keen judgment, the ability to facilitate challenging conversations quickly read interpersonal dynamics and the ability to work with people from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives and across projects;
• Ability to deliver content-specific presentations on core issues identified above to key stakeholders in the education and other child-serving systems;
• Ability to juggle multiple projects, all of which have competing deadlines and require cooperation of various people inside and outside the organization;
• Proficiency in facilitating strategic meetings with high-level stakeholders;
• Experience working with diverse stakeholders to build consensus and sustain momentum around reforms;
• Appreciation of and aptitude for leveraging the role of litigation in driving reform;
• Creativity and a demonstrated willingness to take calculated risks in crafting and executing strategies;
• Initiative, vision, and a commitment to social justice;
• Excellent and consistent attention to detail and the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines;
• Willingness to travel (amount of required travel varies depending on SPLC needs);
• Willingness to work varied/flexible hours depending on SPLC needs; and
• Aptitude for and willingness to be a team player.
Other Special Considerations:
This job is performed under general office conditions and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.
The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of a person in this position.
Please submit your resume, cover letter, a writing sample (up to 10 pages), and a copy of your post-secondary transcript(s) (official or unofficial).
An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction.