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Federal Education Policy

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Although the federal government contributes less than 10 percent of the funding for K-12 schools — the rest comes from a mix of state and local funding — the federal role in our nation’s schools has grown over time. Federal policies play a particularly important role in protecting the rights of and advancing educational equity for historically disadvantaged students, including students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, and dual-language learners.

Bellwether conducts original research and analysis to inform recommendations for federal education policies. Our work also seeks to build understanding of the evolution of federal education policy and the intersection between national priorities and state and local implementation efforts. We provide advice to states, districts, funders, and others seeking to understand how federal policies affect their work.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

August 27, 2020
Kelly Robson, Juliet Squire, Indira Dammu
Over the last 25 years, the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) has invested nearly $5.3 billion into the charter school sector, directing funds...
August 25, 2020
Alex Spurrier, Chad Aldeman, Jennifer O'Neal Schiess, Andrew J. Rotherham
For nearly two decades, state and federal policymakers have built standards-based accountability systems as a way to improve educational outcomes and...
August 6, 2020
Max Marchitello, Hailly T.N. Korman
The coronavirus pandemic will have a profound, lasting impact on students, particularly those who are already marginalized. This includes students in...
July 14, 2020
Justin Trinidad, Hailly T.N. Korman
School choice was intended to expand options and equity, and it holds promise for many students with unique needs. But it is clear that no choice...
June 16, 2020
Lina Bankert, Jeff Schulz, Rochelle Dalton, Alison Fuller, Liz McNamee
Postsecondary education dramatically increases the likelihood of employment and economic success. But many young people, especially those furthest...

Op-Eds

September 28, 2020
Democrats are known for outlining detailed plans to address societal problems—so it’s no surprise that Joe Biden’s campaign has a plan to protect...
September 9, 2020
Some Democrats and Republicans have an unlikely alliance these days around one thing: their sudden rejection of the federal Charter Schools Program (...
July 28, 2020
What a 2005 earthquake in Pakistan can teach American educators about learning loss after a disaster. Distance learning efforts have gone poorly and...

Blog Posts

October 7, 2020
Juliet Squire and Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
“Efforts to lift economy could tip off a financial crisis.” “School districts brace for cuts.” “Will the Banks Collapse?” With headlines...
October 7, 2020
Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
How do individual schools get their funds from districts, how do districts get funding from states, and how do states generate revenue for...
September 30, 2020
Cara Jackson
As applicants anxiously await the results of the FY2020 Charter School Program (CSP) State Entities grant competition, we want to offer...