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Our team blogs regularly on a broad range of topics related to education reform and provides a blend of leading-edge perspectives. One of Bellwether’s greatest strengths is that diversity of viewpoint is encouraged among the partner team and throughout the organization. Everyone at Bellwether is committed to dramatic improvements in our public education system, but internally there are different views about how to accomplish that work. As a result, the views expressed in these blogs should be considered to be those of the writers rather than organizational viewpoints of Bellwether or of any organizations or individuals with whom Bellwether works. Likewise, outgoing links do not constitute any type of endorsement of other websites or organizations.

Ahead of the Heard

The Bellwether team blog, Ahead of the Heard, features regular commentary, analysis, and original insights from our staff.

Jeremy Knight

Last week, we released Rigged, a choose-your-own-adventure-style game designed to represent the experiences of youth trying to navigate school while experiencing challenges like homelessness, foster care placement, or incarceration. The game is a glimpse into the impossible tradeoffs these students face regularly. We collaborated with the folks at Filament Games, including the project’s sole engineer, […]

Eduwonk

Andrew Rotherham provides education news, analysis, and commentary through his widely read blog, Eduwonk.com. 

arotherham

We recently built a video game at Bellwether. Here’s a look behind the scenes at how we did that.

President Trump writes today in USA Today that:

The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

What’s going to make the country economically like Venezuela – and a lot of other countries around the world – is a vanishing middle class, stagnant social mobility, and a secessionist upper class that lives walled off, literally, from its fellow citizens. A key piece of that puzzle, though not the only one, is schools and how educational opportunity is distributed.

Teacher Pensions

Teacherpensions.org, a project of Bellwether Education Partners, provides high-quality information and analysis to help stakeholders – especially teachers and policymakers – understand the teacher pension issue and the trade-offs among various options for reform.

Kirsten Schmitz

In schools across the country, high teacher pension and benefits costs can crowd out other classroom spending. In Washington D.C., pension costs could pump the brakes on Metro services.

A recent GAO report found that, from 2006 to 2017, WMATA’s required employer pension contributions increased an annual average of 18.9 percent -- from $25 million in 2006 to $168 million in 2017. During that same time period, salaries and wages increased only slightly -- an annual average of 1.1 percent. Today, WMATA’s pension system has a $1.1 billion unfunded liability. That’s in addition to $1.8 billion in health care obligations.