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We are a nonprofit dedicated to helping education organizations become more effective and achieve dramatic results, especially for underserved students.

With permission from Democracy Prep Public Schools

We Have Three Integrated Service Areas

Chad Aldeman and Paulina S. Diaz Aguirre

Years of irresponsible budgeting practices have left the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) almost $12 billion in debt. Without significant reforms, Louisiana’s pension problems are likely to get worse, with further negative consequences for workers and schools.

In our new report, “Bayou Blues: How Louisiana’s Retirement Plan Hurts Teachers and Schools,” we show that schools participating in the TRSL already must contribute more than 30 percent of each teacher’s salary toward the state pension plan. The vast majority of this contribution goes toward paying down debt, not for benefits for current workers. As debt has grown, many communities have been forced to make difficult choices between raising taxes, reducing teachers’ salaries and benefits, or making cuts to school-based programs such as art, music, and foreign languages — all of which affect the quality of education. The state’s school districts have already made noticeable cuts to their expenditures on instructional programs, textbooks and other school supplies, and special education services.

Read more here.


Bellwether has an immediate opening for a Communications and Marketing Manager.

Chad Aldeman
Max Marchitello

Following the first ESSA plan submissions to the U.S. Department of Education in April 2017, Bellwether Education Partners — in partnership with the Collaborative for Student Success — convened a group of 30 education experts to independently review 17 state accountability plans. During the review, the experts, who represented national and state perspectives from both sides of the aisle, identified best practices in providing a strong statewide accountability system that will help ensure a high-quality education for all students.

Because the first round of reviews was designed to help provide important context for the remaining state plans being submitted in September 2017, we conducted interim reviews of draft plans released by California and New York, using the same rubric and a process that closely mirrored our first set of reviews. We recognize that these pre-reviews represent a snapshot in time and that the states may make revisions prior to formally submitting their plans to the U.S. Department of Education. Given the size of California and New York’s diverse student populations, as well as their geographic diversity, we felt that feedback on their draft plans was important in not only strengthening these state’s final submissions, but also in providing information for other states still writing their plans.

We intend to conduct full reviews of all second-round states following their final submissions in September.

Read our reviews of the draft California and New York state plans here.

Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen

Every day, nearly 25 million students ride a big yellow bus to school. These iconic vehicles are so entrenched in American school culture that their likeness is the predominant symbol for education.

There’s good reason for this. Since the yellow school bus came on the scene decades ago, almost nothing has changed about the vehicles or how school systems use them to transport students.

But do school transportation systems still meet the needs of current students, families, and schools? In "Miles to Go: Bringing School Transportation into the 21st Century,” we analyze school transportation on a national scale through multiple lens.