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

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    For a lot of young people spring weather is just another reminder that high school is basically over and it’s OK to check out. I attended a well-regarded suburban high school and still spent too much of my senior spring skipping school to ski, hike, hang out at a local waterfall and do some less wholesome things I’ll probably deny if my own kids ask about them. Meanwhile, at the other end of the educational chain a lot of parents are struggling; not with how to spend those first warm sunny days but how to afford high-quality preschool education for their 4-year-olds.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    What’s in this spring in public education? Apparently it’s students opting out of state standardized tests.

    If you just read hysterical press accounts you might think parents are refusing state standardized tests at a fantastic clip. In fact, for the overwhelming majority of schools and students it’s business as usual. In a few affluent communities opting out of the new Common Core tests is a thing. “Everyone is talking about it at Whole Foods” says one disgusted New York education figure. But so far the opt out craze is more noise than signal.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    One of the interesting things about my job is that wealthy people ask me for ideas about how best to use their resources to improve America’s schools. There are plenty of important issues demanding attention: overhauling the sorry state of teacher preparation and teacher policy (I wrote an entire guidebook about that), giving low-income Americans more educational choice and improving educational finance are three obvious ones. But, to the consternation of colleagues in the education world, I don’t first suggest those or other specific education issues.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    It’s frustrating when college administrators say they can’t really do a lot to boost graduation rates for first-in-family college students or poor students. The challenges are real, but a short walk down to the athletic department reveals some strategies that are working. All those supports that are provided to athletes as a matter of course can be the difference between success and failure for at-risk students for whom life at college is often alien and chaotic.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    Let's stipulate that it would be better all around if Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had finished college – especially because he apparently came close to graduating from Marquette. It would be better for his advisers, because issues besides Walker’s non-degree might get attention. (Although after Walker’s past week, the academic credential issue probably looks better all the time.) It would be better for Democrats because they wouldn’t come off as snobs talking about the issue. Who knows, it might even be better for Walker himself.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    The education reform world is increasingly obsessed with “diversity.” Organizations and individuals are struggling to ensure people with different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds have a place in the conversation about how to improve our schools. Although these efforts range from serious and thoughtful to plainly exhibitionist, it’s an important conversation – especially because public schools have never worked particularly well for minority students.

  • Publication
    Lars D. Johnson
    Ashley LiBetti Mitchel
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    Many administrators and educators in rural America believe federal education policy is not designed for rural districts, and that consideration of policy’s unique impact on rural districts is not a priority.

  • Publication
    Andrew J. Rotherham
    Chad Aldeman

    The Washington Post - Many state teacher pension plans and retirement systems are unsustainable. Yet trying to fix the funding gap by throwing up obstacles and making the plans stingier ignores the main purpose of retirement plans in the first place: to offer all workers a path to an attractive and secure retirement.

  • Publication
    Andrew J. Rotherham
    Ashley LiBetti Mitchel

    The past decade saw unprecedented progress on teacher quality. Policymakers came to embrace two key research-based ideas: teachers are the single most important in-school factor for student achievement, and traditional methods of measuring teacher quality have little to no bearing on actual student learning. ...


    In Genuine Progress, Greater Challenges: A Decade of Teacher Effectiveness Reforms, Andrew J. Rotherham and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel analyze what spurred the past decade of progress in teacher quality policy, today’s status quo, and what corrections and next steps policymakers and philanthropists should take.

  • Publication
    By Chad Aldeman and Andrew J. Rotherham

    Saving for retirement is a nationwide problem — a recent study found that 92 percent of households do not meet retirement savings targets for their age and income. Yet for most workers, public policies are not the root cause of their lack of savings. For public school teachers, however, poorly structured policies put in place over the past few decades by states and cities can exacerbate their retirement insecurity.

  • Publication
    By Andrew J. Rotherham

    USA Today -- Most non-New Yorkers know only two things about Bill de Blasio, the city’s new progressive mayor: He eats pizza with a knife and fork, and Al Roker attacked him for sending students to school in a snowstorm. But parents should know a third: He's waging a Democrat vs. Democrat battle over education issues that could spill into the 2016 Democratic presidential primary and into your community.

  • Publication
    By Andrew J. Rotherham

    TIME.com -- What does the renewed push for vouchers mean for our education system? That is of course a matter of debate. Proponents and opponents make a lot of overblown claims about what vouchers will or won’t do. But with a number of programs already in force, we actually know quite a bit about how they work. So, if this debate comes to a school system near you, here are five claims every parent should be skeptical about.

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