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State Education Policy

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Despite heated debates at the local and federal level about education reform, states actually play the lead role in our nation’s public education system. The responsibility for providing public education services is established at the state level in individual state constitutions, and state revenues fund the lion’s share of the cost of operating most public schools. As a result, state policy drives much of the structure and function of the public school system — with direct influence over human capital management, school and system performance and accountability, financing, and governance.

Bellwether’s work identifies both the opportunities and barriers that state policies create for innovative and promising practices across the education sector. We also analyze the intersection of state policy with federal priorities and local contexts. Our grant-funded work has addressed a range of state policy issues, including charter school policies; the impact of state policy on teacher certification, retention, compensation, and benefits; the structure and function of state school financing systems; and more. We also advise state policymakers seeking to develop and implement innovative policy solutions as well as foundations and advocacy organizations seeking to identify or influence state policies to foster improved outcomes for students.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

January 24, 2017
Hechinger Report -- President Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos — a Michigan philanthropist and school choice advocate — for Secretary of Education...
January 23, 2017
Bonnie O'Keefe, Kaitlin Pennington, Sara Mead
President Donald Trump’s nomination of philanthropist and education advocate Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education thrust Michigan education into...
December 8, 2016
Kelly Robson, Juliet Squire
Currently, about 6,000 Idaho students are on waitlists for charter schools. And the state is expected to add nearly 22,000 new prek-12 students by...
December 5, 2016
Kaitlin Pennington, Sara Mead
In 2012, as states and districts were in the trenches changing teacher evaluation policy, Bellwether Education Partners released The Hangover, a...
October 19, 2016
Ashley LiBetti Mitchel, Melissa Steel King
Every year, new teachers collectively spend about $4.8 billion on their training requirements, nearly all of which goes to teacher preparation...

Blog Posts

December 12, 2016
Kelly Robson
Finding and financing school facilities continues to be a major barrier for charter schools. Many states have created programs to help ease...
May 11, 2016
Kelly Robson
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act has helped ensure that homeless children and youth have access to the same educational...
February 12, 2016
Jennifer Schiess
If my Google alerts are any indication, 2016 is a hot year for state school finance (first time “hot” and “school finance” have been used...