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Learn more about Bellwether’s work by reading our publications, news articles, press releases, and case studies.

  • Publication
    Max Marchitello
    Andrew J. Rotherham
    Juliet Squire

    Teacher retirement plans are called “gold plated” by their proponents and critics alike, when in fact half of teachers will never see a pension at all. Only about one in five teachers gets a full pension. And in many cases retirement benefits shortchange teachers and make it harder for them to save for their retirement. In Teacher Retirement Systems: A Ranking of the States, Bellwether Education Partners ranks how state retirement systems serve U.S. teachers and taxpayers.

  • Publication
    Alex Spurrier
    Juliet Squire
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    Families continue to struggle navigating a fluid K-12 education space since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and emergence of the Delta variant. Over the last 18 months, the parents of 10.8 million did not get what they wanted from their child’s school — representing nearly one in five U.S. schoolchildren. Many families’ early concerns over access to in-person, virtual, and hybrid forms of instruction persist with the start of the 2021-22 school year. These families are not a monolith. They live in a diverse range of communities found across America, come from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, and span the socioeconomic spectrum. While some were more economically equipped to react, all have felt disruptions of the pandemic in their daily lives. The Overlooked analyzes the fundamental shift playing out among families across the country who are dealing with unresponsive systems and limited school choices this fall.

  • Publication
    Andrew J. Rotherham
    Thomas Gold

    With a historic pool of federal education funds now available to help address the effects of the pandemic, school districts and states have a unique window of opportunity to transform education — including by diversifying their workforce through recruiting, training, and retaining more Black and Hispanic teachers. Window of Opportunity: How States and Localities Can Use Federal Rescue Plan Dollars to Diversify Their Teacher Workforce offers a roadmap of recruitment and retention strategies that states and districts can begin implementing today to ensure America’s public school teaching workforce better reflects its students and meets their educational needs.

  • Publication
    Nate Geller
    Stephanie Spangler
    Monique Payton

    The COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on students from historically marginalized communities underscores the value of continuous improvement (CI) as a framework for understanding the depth of unfinished learning and responding to it in an urgent, data-driven, and adaptive manner. Working alongside school-based teams, Bellwether has developed a refined and balanced approach to the traditional CI process that is more attuned to realities in schools, particularly in the wake of the pandemic — and is now available for school leaders to download as a customizable, easy-to-use resource that can help them implement these techniques for students.

  • Publication
    Chad Aldeman
    Brandon Lewis

    Do employees at public colleges and universities have better retirement benefits than K-12 employees? This is the central question in the new report Choice and Quality Among Retirement Plans for Educators. The analysis shows that K-12 teachers are often offered different, worse retirement benefits than those offered to public higher education employees.

  • Publication
    Tresha Ward
    Nate Geller
    Stephanie Spangler

    Educators and students across the country are wrapping up one of the most challenging and exhausting years of their academic careers. The ongoing pandemic, 14 months and counting, has resulted in an erratic, inadequate, and inequitable experience for students, families, and educators. The compounded impact of months of interrupted schooling has been well documented.

  • Publication
    Brandon Lewis
    Hailly T.N. Korman

    Calls for schools to end long-standing approaches—such as police officers on campuses, expulsions, and zero-tolerance policies—are a part of a broader call to divest from punitive systems. However, while divesting is an important part of interrupting punitive systems, so is the effort to make investments. Investing in Healthy Transitions to Adulthood: The Role of Schools, a new release from Bellwether, identifies key opportunities for schools to take on broader and more influential roles in the evolving conversation about policing, mass incarceration, and the movement for racial justice.

  • Publication
    Lina Bankert
    Mike Boone
    Indira Dammu
    Hailly T.N. Korman
    Liz McNamee

    The path to and through college is not easy or guaranteed, and COVID-19 has only exposed the faultlines along the journey. Reimagining the Road to Graduation, a new resource from Bellwether Education Partners, tells the stories of five students whose postsecondary plans were affected by the pandemic, and their efforts to stay on track.

  • Publication
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) includes $123 billion to K-12 education through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and $39 billion for higher education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). What’s in the law? How can schools use the funding? And will it be enough to address the gaps that COVID-19 exposed and exacerbated? Despite variation in local context, in many places, ARPA will represent a windfall of funding for education. This brief provides a look at the K-12 and higher education-related provisions of ARPA, as well as an overview of other ARPA provisions related to families and children, including childcare, food, housing, and income supports.

  • Publication

    Title image for Bellwether 2020 Annual Report

    Bellwether was founded on the idea that schools must do dramatically more for Black, Hispanic, low-income, and other students historically denied access to opportunity in America — and for more than 10 years, clients have looked to us to provide thoughtful, non-ideological analysis and strategies that prioritize serving disadvantaged children. In Bellwether's 2020 annual report, we share a sampling of the projects, publications, and commentary that best highlight how we maintained our commitment to ensuring underserved students receive the education they deserve, during a challenging year for education and the world.

  • Publication
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    In alignment with national trends, public discourse about the role of charters in Texas’s public school system can be contentious – and one primary point of contention has been around differences in public funding for Texas school districts versus charter schools. In "On a Path to Parity: Equity and Impact of Texas School Funding Policy for School Districts and Charter Schools," we look at the differences in public funding between Texas school districts and charter schools, and offer three considerations for policymakers seeking to further level the funding playing field.

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Hailly T.N. Korman
    Rebecca Daulton

    Young people who experience disruptive and traumatic events rely on our nation’s child-serving agencies for support to navigate their circumstances, heal from trauma, and return to school, work, and life as healthy and productive citizens. Unfortunately, too often our existing service agencies fall short of meeting the needs of these youth. As a result, students who experience a disruptive event in youth are more likely to experience homelessness, to have unplanned or unwanted pregnancies, and to end up in jail throughout their lifetimes.

    "The Value of Harms Avoided: Calculating the Cost of a Fragmented System of Social Services" attempts to calculate both the cost of the current system across multiple disruptions that young people might face and the cost of a hypothetical system in which the first intervention works—allowing the individual to leverage support systems in the future at the rate and cost of a person who did not experience a disruptive event as a child. Based on our calculation, such a system could free up more than $1.5 trillion over the lifetimes of the cohort of youth currently served by care agencies.

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