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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

November 12, 2020
Asking our educators to return to school buildings at this moment is not just wrong—it has wasted time and diverted attention from the real task at...
November 5, 2020
When it comes to education spending, we’re missing the fiscal forest for the most visible trees. This has been a golden era of education spending....
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...

Blog Posts

May 13, 2021
Kate Keller
When the Biden administration announced required state standardized testing this spring, I was angry. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. A...
March 8, 2021
Bonnie O'Keefe, Hailly Korman, Matt Repka
In October 2020, “Missing in the Margins: Estimating the Scale of the COVID-19 Attendance Crisis” estimated that approximately 3 million...
November 5, 2020
Chad Aldeman
As I write this, we’re not done counting votes in several key states, including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania...