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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

March 10, 2020
Hailly T.N. Korman, Max Marchitello
Each year thousands of youth in America are uprooted from their schools and communities and sent to a juvenile justice detention center. The majority...
March 5, 2020
Chad Aldeman
In response to financial pressures, the New York State Assembly has created new, less-generous retirement plans for teachers and other educators....
February 19, 2020
Kelly Robson, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
Autonomous school policies are becoming increasingly prevalent in school districts and states, and currently exist in 24 states nationwide. These...
December 4, 2019
Kelly Robson, Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Juliet Squire, Jeff Schulz
Fourteen percent of the nation’s population lives in rural communities, and one in five K-12 students attends a rural school — a substantial...
September 10, 2019
Kelly Robson, Brandon Lewis, Juliet Squire
When rural charter schools succeed, what conditions enable their results? Local Roots Take the Lead is a new website from Bellwether Education...

Blog Posts

March 9, 2020
Lynne Graziano
Before personal computers, IBM Selectric typewriters represented the cutting edge of desktop technology for modern offices. In the early...
February 27, 2020
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
We have written multiple posts in recent months about the spread of “autonomous district schools,” which occupy the middle ground between...
February 20, 2020
Kelly Robson and Jennifer Schiess
Across the country, many states and local districts are establishing autonomous school policies, which delegate to principals and school...