Skip to main content

State Education Policy

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

You are here

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 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...
July 25, 2017
U.S. News & World Report -- There's no single reason people want more choice in education. 
June 27, 2017
Chad Aldeman, Max Marchitello, Kaitlin Pennington
Update: Click here to see interim reviews of California and New York’s draft ESSA plans. The 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)...
May 2, 2017
Jennifer O'Neal Schiess, Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
Every day, nearly 25 million students ride a big yellow bus to school. These iconic vehicles are so entrenched in American school culture that their...

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...