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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

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...
August 27, 2019
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Bonnie O’Keefe, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Today, more states and districts are attempting to address segregation and inequity among schools by expanding families’ ability to choose from a...
August 27, 2019
Alex Spurrier, Bonnie O’Keefe
In 1969, more than half of students walked or biked to school, a little more than a third rode on a school bus, and relatively few rode to school in...
August 27, 2019
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Bonnie O’Keefe
America’s fleet of roughly 480,000 school buses drives nearly 3.5 billion miles every year transporting students to and from school. About a third of...
August 20, 2019
Hailly T.N. Korman, Max Marchitello, Alexander Brand
Every two years the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights conducts the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which includes...

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...