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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

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 30, 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...
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...
June 12, 2020
Hailly T.N. Korman, Michael Johnson, Max Marchitello
The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people, often by law enforcement, have added momentum...

Op-Eds

May 20, 2020
Measuring how much students learn over time is the most equitable measure of student performance we have, revealing trends and patterns that status...
April 7, 2020
The widespread disruptions to our country’s entire education system are a momentary step into the shoes of students who have lived fragile lives for...
March 9, 2020
Too often, education leaders think of schools and programs serving students who have gaps in their education, who are early parents, who are...

Blog Posts

August 6, 2020
Alieyyah Lewis
Alieyyah Lewis is an intern with Bellwether’s Policy & Evaluation team. In April of this year, my phone rang, and I was excited to see...
July 23, 2020
Lynne Graziano
As a suburban Jersey girl growing up in the 1970s and early 80s, I knew two things about Newark. It was a city with a fine medical...
July 22, 2020
Alex Spurrier
The bipartisan coalition that originally supported standards-based accountability is not as strong as it once was, but on Monday afternoon...