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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

May 9, 2018
Kaitlin Pennington, Alexander Brand
As school districts across the country report various kinds of teacher shortages, how to retain teachers has emerged as a key area of interest for...
May 2, 2018
Bonnie O'Keefe
A new profile highlights the co-teaching approach for dual language learners (DLLs) at Community of Peace Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota. The school...
April 25, 2018
Kelly Robson, Hailly T.N. Korman
At any given moment in time, our nation’s social service agencies are caring for approximately 5 million children and youth. These children show up...
February 27, 2018
Jason Weeby
Human-centered design is an approach to creating solutions for problems and opportunities through a focus on the needs, contexts, behaviors, and...
February 22, 2018
Marnie Kaplan
While there has been extensive debate about mandating degree requirements for early childhood educators, little of this debate has focused on the...

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...