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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

July 23, 2019
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Katrina Boone, Juliet Squire , Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Every day, America’s fleet of roughly 480,000 school buses transports about a third of students to and from school. This fleet is more than twice the...
July 9, 2019
Bonnie O’Keefe , Brandon Lewis
In recent years, political and public pushback to state tests has led many states to retreat from investing in and innovating their assessment...
June 4, 2019
Chad Aldeman, Andrew J. Rotherham
Fed up with stagnant salaries, teachers have gone on strike all across the country over the past few years. Meanwhile, education spending is hitting...
May 22, 2019
Kelly Robson, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Justin Trinidad
Any movement serious about improving outcomes for underserved young people must include the South. It is the fastest-growing region in the country...
May 15, 2019
Alex Spurrier
Many of California’s urban public schools, both traditional and charter, have seen dramatic changes in enrollment during the past two decades. These...

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...