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State Education Policy

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

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Despite heated debates at the local and federal level about education reform, states actually play the lead role in our nation’s public education system. The responsibility for providing public education services is established at the state level in individual state constitutions, and state revenues fund the lion’s share of the cost of operating most public schools. As a result, state policy drives much of the structure and function of the public school system — with direct influence over human capital management, school and system performance and accountability, financing, and governance.

Bellwether’s work identifies both the opportunities and barriers that state policies create for innovative and promising practices across the education sector. We also analyze the intersection of state policy with federal priorities and local contexts. Our grant-funded work has addressed a range of state policy issues, including charter school policies; the impact of state policy on teacher certification, retention, compensation, and benefits; the structure and function of state school financing systems; and more. We also advise state policymakers seeking to develop and implement innovative policy solutions as well as foundations and advocacy organizations seeking to identify or influence state policies to foster improved outcomes for students.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

November 15, 2017
School buses might not grab headlines, but they are a critical part of American K-12 education, providing millions of kids with a safe way to get to...
November 1, 2017
Bonnie O'Keefe
Supporting Minnesota Educators is a new website from Bellwether Education Partners that delves into findings from a local initiative to reveal...
October 12, 2017
Chad Aldeman and Paulina S. Diaz Aguirre
Years of irresponsible budgeting practices have left the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) almost $12 billion in debt. Without...
August 24, 2017
Chad Aldeman, Max Marchitello
Both interim review PDFs were updated on August 31st, 2017. Read this blog post for more information.  Following the first ESSA plan submissions to...
August 23, 2017
Max Marchitello
What effect does teacher pension spending have on school funding equity? In Bellwether's new report, “Illinois’ Teacher Pension Plans Deepen School...

Blog Posts

April 3, 2017
Hailly Korman
Last month, I gave testimony before the California Senate Education Committee on SB 304, a bill to define the required elements of an...
December 12, 2016
Kelly Robson
Finding and financing school facilities continues to be a major barrier for charter schools. Many states have created programs to help ease...
May 11, 2016
Kelly Robson
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act has helped ensure that homeless children and youth have access to the same educational...