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

  • Media
    Sara Mead

    For decades, policymakers and researchers have debated whether Head Start "works." But that's the wrong question. … [T]he key question is not whether Head Start works, but how policymakers and practitioners can maximize its impact and get the most out of the $8.6 billion the federal government spends on Head Start each year.

  • Publication
    Sara Mead
    Ashley LiBetti Mitchel

    Head Start is a valuable program that delivers early childhood education and comprehensive services to over one million children living in poverty, helping prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. But to maximize results for Head Start children and their families, practitioners and federal policymakers must use data in new ways to support ongoing improvement in Head Start programs.

    Bellwether worked with three organizations—Results for America, the National Head Start Association, and the Volcker Alliance—to develop a vision for using data, evidence, and evaluation to improve Head Start outcomes. Read more here.

  • Media
    Sara Mead

    2016 is shaping up to be a big year for early childhood education – here's a sneak peak at five top stories to keep an eye on in the year ahead.

  • Publication
    Juliet Squire
    Andy Smarick
    Kelly Robson

    Recently, private school leaders have taken notice of some of the propelling forces behind charter school growth: charter management organizations (CMOs) and education management organizations (EMOs). To achieve sustainability and growth in the private school sector, some private schools have adopted a network model through private school management organizations (PSMOs), which are independent entities that operate or help operate three or more private schools.

    In this study, Bellwether's Juliet Squire, Andy Smarick, and Kelly Robson examine the operations of existing PSMOs and define them by typologies. The authors also warn of potential pitfalls, surface questions for future research, and recommend ways to engage with these fledgling organizations.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    For students in states with leaders who are deeply committed to equity and prepared to stand up to the myriad special interests in the education sector on behalf of students the new policy could be a win. There is plenty of room for innovation. But students in states without those elements or lacking alignment among key policymakers may be facing years of educational stagnation, or worse backsliding, at a time when they and the country can ill afford it. There is plenty of room for cosmetic rather than real fixes – traditionally the way things are done.

  • Media
    Sara Mead

    If (Hillary) Clinton is concerned about whether charter schools serve all students, she should propose creating incentives for more states and cities to create the kind of equity reports that D.C. released this week and provide federal funding for them to do so. Only by taking a hard look at data can we move from debate, defense and accusations to honest progress on these issues.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    Around the country students are calling for changes at colleges and universities. Some of the demands for change are more than reasonable – if not overdue. Others clearly trample free speech and are out of place in an intellectual environment. But one protest stands out – the actions of the some of the University of Missouri's football team.

  • Media
    Sara Mead

    Goldman Sachs drew criticism from an unexpected source last week – early childhood experts questioning the investment bank's role in financing a Utah preschool program. In 2013-14, Goldman Sachs and philanthropist J.B. Pritzker paid for 595 children to attend preschool. In return, the state of Utah agreed to pay the investors for every child from that group who avoided special education placement as a result of attending preschool. Of the 595 kids, 110 were identified as at-risk for needing special education, but only one received special education services in kindergarten.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    Girls shouldn't have to shop in the boys' section to find durable, outdoor-friendly, livable clothing. This is about more than fashion. Every time I have to take (my daughters) to the boys' section of a clothing store to get a decent flannel shirt or a pair of pants that won't tear on the first briar it meets, it sends a not-so-subtle signal to them that they're not doing "girl" things. Some kids don't care. Overall, though, it's asking a lot of nine-year-olds to completely buck a value system they see all around them.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    It's not every day you see a White House initiative play out in real time with everyone happy about it. Actually these days, do you ever? But there it was: High in Virginia's mountains families hiked, picnicked and played under a cloudless blue sky on a crisp October Sunday. The mountain foliage was already spectacular and for some a fall visit to see it was an annual tradition. But for a surprising number of families the impetus for the trip was the White House's Every Kid In A Park initiative.

  • Media
    Sara Mead

    U.S. News & World Report -- Bad news sells better than good news. Counterintuitive stories attract even more attention. That may be why a recent Vanderbilt University study of Tennessee's Voluntary Pre-K program has gotten so much attention.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    For education companies, the costs of going public often outweigh the benefits. Many analysts agree. "Unless you are huge and a publisher, or education is a smaller part of your business, like Apple, Microsoft or a big construction firm, it makes no sense to be public" says one longtime industry observer and investor. It's an ironic sentiment. A field that rightly respects public as an essential touchstone is populated by successful companies viewing private ownership as the best way to achieve their public goals and mission.

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