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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

    What Arne Duncan's resignation means for the education debate, 2016 election and beyond. The education world reacted with surprise to the early October announcement that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is stepping down, and former New York education commissioner and current acting Deputy Secretary John King Jr. is stepping into the role at the end of the year. As with any political transition, there's plenty of spin and speculation.

  • Publication
    Andy Smarick
    Kelly Robson

    Over the last generation, Catholic schools have been buffeted by a confluence of winds: changing demographics in the urban neighborhoods where many of their facilities are located, the disappearance of nuns and priests from classrooms, new competition from tuition-free charter schools, and other factors. Enrollments tumbled. 6,000 schools closed. Financial pressures thinned instructional resources.

    Yet two million children remain in Catholic schools today. This includes a great many low-income and minority youngsters for whom Catholic schooling is a lifeline in an otherwise dysfunctional neighborhood. And Catholic schools get enormous bang for their educational buck—posting graduation rates, college success patterns, and levels of constructive student behavior that much exceed the performance at counterpart public institutions.

  • Media
    Andy Smarick
    Kelly Robson

    For 50 years, American K-12 Catholic education had been in a quiet retreat. Thousands of schools were shuttered. Enrollment plummeted by millions. Though heroic educators and generous donors stemmed the tide in many places, even creating exemplars of what was possible, forecasts were bleak. Education journals carried articles titled, “Can Catholic Schools Be Saved?” But thanks to an unprecedented wave of social entrepreneurialism and some innovative public policies — both fueled by philanthropy — we may be witnessing the dawn of a renaissance of Catholic K-12 education.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    Today's pension policy is making it extra hard for young teachers to save for retirement. Saving even a little in your 20s to make long time horizons work for you is one way to guard against risk. So why are we making it extra hard for 20-something teachers – America's largest group of college-educated workers – to do exactly that? Policymakers could offer more portable benefits or give teachers their employer contributions much sooner.

  • Media
    Mr. Andy Smarick

    For 50 years, inner-city Catholic schools have been shuttering, victims of shifting city demographics, changes in the workforce, the advent of charter schooling, and much more. Impoverished families have too few accessible school options to begin with, but this phenomenon has been especially painful. A substantial body of evidence shows that Catholic schools have an unusual ability to help underserved kids succeed. Newer research suggests that longstanding urban Catholic schools foster social capital outside their walls, helping decrease crime and other societal ills.

  • Media
    Sara Mead

    Here are 7 key things to know about charter school quantity and quality. Love them or hate them, charter schools are here to stay. But public and policy debates about them continue to be plagued by outdated information, myths and misunderstandings.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    Many schools with old Confederate names are also failing to adequately teach their students. All else equal, can we at least stipulate that it's hardly ideal to send black students to schools named for Confederate heroes? OK, maybe we can't. That's still a pretty controversial point for some. What about sending them to schools that are both named for Confederates and doing a poor job educating students of color? That happens every day in too many public schools. Now, one of them, Fairfax County's Stuart High School, is getting some national attention and pushback.

  • Publication
    Sara Mead
    Ashley LiBetti Mitchel
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    During the past decade, the number of students attending charter schools more than tripled to nearly 3 million, or 6 percent, of students nationally, and charters are playing an even more prominent role in educating students in some of nation’s largest urban communities.

    Despite this growing role in U.S. public education, the debate about charter schools continues to be plagued by outdated information, misconceptions, and myths.

    A new analysis from Bellwether Education Partners brings together the most recent data on charter schools from a variety of sources to provide a comprehensive picture of the current state of the charter school movement in the United States.

    Read more...

  • Media
    Sara Mead

    Research linking maternity leave to children's early development or longer-term outcomes is limited and mixed, in part because many studies of maternity leave policies use data from other developed countries that start with a higher baseline level of parental leave than the United States. But some research suggests that maternity leave is correlated with improved long-term educational outcomes for their children, particularly those whose mothers would otherwise take very little maternity leave.

  • Media
    Andrew J. Rotherham

    Speculating about how many and what kind of students were opting out of standardized tests was a fun education parlor game this spring. Highly energized proponents claimed the opt-out movement was a diverse cross-section of public school students. Critics responded that, no, it was a movement of affluent white parents and not that many of them.

  • Media
    Sara Mead

    The emerging teacher shortages in California and other states offer a warning about the future of the teaching profession. But they also create an opportunity for policymakers and preparation programs to fundamentally rethink how our nation recruits and trains teachers. Let's hope they rise to the challenge.

  • Publication
    Sara Mead

    In June 2015, the Federal Register published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Head Start Performance Standards, the federal regulations governing the operation of Head Start programs.

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