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

  • Publication
    Bonnie O'Keefe
    Alex Spurrier
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
    Hailly T.N. Korman
    Melissa Steel King
    Allison Crean Davis
    Indira Dammu
    Juliet Squire
    Ashley LiBetti

    COVID-19 has presented new challenges for schools and families to grapple with when it comes to student learning — but the pandemic also has illuminated shortcomings and missed opportunities that have long been present in our education system. Now, nearly a year after schools across the country first shut down due to the pandemic —and as more communities eye the possibility of a return to full-time, in-person learning — a new series of briefs from Bellwether offers guidance on how the education sector can recenter and rebuild in the wake of COVID-19.

    "From Pandemic to Progress: Eight Education Pathways for COVID-19 Recovery" puts forth a suite of ambitious but achievable pathways for education leaders and policymakers to follow to re-engage in complex policy questions and rebuild education as the country begins to emerge from the pandemic. Drawing on the breadth of Bellwether's unique expertise and diversity of viewpoints, this series offers a take on what we'll need in the years ahead to create a sector that can provide students with the high-quality education and supports they need and deserve to be successful.

  • Publication
    Brandon Lewis
    Melissa Steel King
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess

    Around the country, advocates for education equity are paying increased attention to the critical importance of early math skills. Driven by research showing that foundational math knowledge is even more predictive of later school success than literacy, a growing movement is focused on promoting young children’s math skills in both early care settings and at home.

  • Publication
    Ashley LiBetti
    Lynne Graziano
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess

    COVID-19 has altered education as we know it, and no one school has found the perfect approach to distance learning. However, some schools more quickly adopted promising practices in response to common challenges, offering lessons for other schools seeking to improve their distance learning models.

  • Publication
    Ashley LiBetti
    Juliet Squire
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess

    Districts across the country play a crucial role in ensuring schools effectively serve students and families. Beyond federal requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act and state-level accountability systems, locally developed school performance frameworks are a key lever for holding schools accountable, particularly for student learning and wellness. 

  • Publication
    Ashley LiBetti
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
    National Association of Charter School Authorizers

    Great charter school authorizers believe in the charter school promise and relentlessly pursue excellence to give every child an educational option that meets their needs.

    In the wake of COVID-19, authorizers have an opportunity to rethink approaches to measuring student success and wellness. In this new collection of resources, Bellwether worked with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers to look at what new and better measures charter school authorizers can use to ensure student learning, school performance, and quality,

  • Publication
    Alex Spurrier
    Chad Aldeman
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    As a global pandemic interrupted purposefully designed systems of testing and accountability, we are left with critical questions: How does the underlying theory of standards-based accountability and its foundational goals of equity and transparency hold up decades later? What do key stakeholders need from these systems now? Given what we’ve learned from decades of successes and failures, how should these systems continue to evolve in the face of mounting political opposition?

    Bellwether's series takes a step back to examine the past, present, and future of modern school accountability systems. We've also added three short resources to help state policymakers, advocates, and school and district leaders apply the lessons and ideas from these briefs to their work. Read the newest brief and takeaways at the link below:

  • Media
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    Now is not the time to roll back testing in Georgia. Milestones is the only data that provide transparency into how every public school is doing.

  • Media
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    South Carolinians, like the rest of Americans, are under a lot of stress and anxiety. For schools, it could get worse. State Superintendent Molly Spearman is seeking a waiver from standardized testing to “relieve anxiety.”

    But what about the anxiety produced by uncertainty? Spearman’s proposal would leave students, parents and communities in the dark on how students are doing during a pandemic that is here to stay in the near-term.

  • Media
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    If New York does receive a waiver, its schools will lose another year of data that represents the only available measure of performance for every student in every school — data that can expose inequities in outcomes for students and drive decisions about where to target resources.

  • Media
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    Information about how schools support students is more critical now than ever as we navigate a pandemic that has already upended two school years. Why stop measuring schools’ progress toward high expectations for student learning?

  • Media
    Chad Aldeman
    Alex Spurrier
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    To ensure that students aren’t left behind as schools continue educating during a pandemic, policymakers must ensure that accountability systems are adapted and sustained rather than sidelined during this critical moment for kids.

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
    Phillip Burgoyne-Allen

    "Staking Out the Middle Ground: Policy Design for Autonomous Schools" provides state and local leaders with key insights into the various contours of autonomous school policies. Two research briefs drawing from the full report provide specific summaries of Recommendations for State Leaders and Recommendations for Local Leaders. The report also surfaces lessons and recommendations from in-depth Profiles of Autonomous School Policies in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Massachusetts.

    Cover image for Bellwether publication Staking Out the Middle Ground: Policy Design for Autonomous Schools February 2020

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