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Ideas matter. In addition to our work with clients, Bellwether Education Partners generates and gathers ideas and policy solutions, analyzes ongoing reform efforts, and writes about and discusses education and education reform. We believe that the work we do to improve education for all students benefits from thought leadership, analysis, and thoughtful discourse around emerging ideas, in order to help challenge leaders and leading organizations to think differently and improve, to coordinate efforts where possible, to inform policymakers and improve the political and policy context, and to share successful approaches with the public education field at large.

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Business leaders play a critical role in ensuring that our education systems enable young people to gain the skills, knowledge, and experiences they need to be successful in the current and future economy. Business voices can be powerful tools to help shape policy, champion programs, and advocate for greater coordination and alignment among the early childhood, K-12, higher education, and workforce systems. Yet despite the long history of interaction between the education and business sectors, relatively little research has examined how business organizations successfully advocate on behalf of education policy priorities.

Making Education Everyone’s Business: Three Studies of Successful Education Advocacy seeks to fill this gap. We conducted in-depth case studies of three business advocacy organizations: Colorado Succeeds, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Washington Roundtable. These case studies include an analysis of each organization’s history, mission, current policy agenda, staffing, and financials, as well as interviews with each organization’s leaders, members, and partners. Three key lessons surfaced through our research, which are important for all organizations considering the potential of the business community to drive change in education. In particular, successful business advocacy organizations:

  1. Tailor their agendas and value propositions to meet specific, local needs
  2. Are strategic in how they leverage staff, external supports, and funding sources
  3. Leverage both collective and individual voices to advance their agendas
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As leaders consider reopening schools in the fall, there are numerous versions of what schooling could look like in different communities. But leaders can begin planning right away even amid uncertainty. This new resource zeroes in on the three most strategically and operationally distinct scenarios: all in-person learning, all distance learning, or a hybrid. Given the virus’ unpredictability and the high possibility of “rolling closures,” leaders will be in a strong position if they have plans that cover these core scenarios and are ready to move between them.

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This resource library includes specific and tactical recommendations on how to support students who are engaged with systems of care — such as the foster care system, health and human services, and immigration — during COVID-19.

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included $30.75 billion with several distinct funding streams. Bellwether has produced briefs to help state and district policymakers make informed decisions about how to use these funds, and to help advocates and leaders of schools, districts, charter management organizations, and other education nonprofits understand the potential implications of these funding streams for their work serving students, families, and communities.

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A new resource guide created by Bellwether Education Partners in partnership with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools looks at the implications of federal COVID-19 response legislation passed in March 2020 for public charter schools.

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An easy-to-use, practical resource that aims to help leaders make decisions and actionable plans amid the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. The planning framework that is the crux of this toolkit takes leaders through four key steps: Reground, Prioritize, Plan, and Connect.

Screenshot of Bellwether publication COVID-19 Strategic Planning Toolkit for Education & Nonprofit Leaders

You can also watch a series of interviews with school leaders who used this toolkit below:


Click below to learn more about this fillable Excel template.

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Each year thousands of youth in America are uprooted from their schools and communities and sent to a juvenile justice detention center. While in these facilities, young people are entitled to the same educational opportunities that they would have in the outside world. However, there is little research or data about this population. In “Educating Youth in Short-Term Detention,” we found that youth’s educational experiences in these facilities often compound, rather than alleviate, the challenges they face.

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In response to financial pressures, the New York State Assembly has created new, less-generous retirement plans for teachers and other educators. Employees are assigned to a benefit tier depending on their hire date. There are now six tiers, and each one offers workers less-generous benefits than the prior version.

How far have the benefits fallen, and does the current tier structure provide sufficient retirement benefits?

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Title image for Bellwether 2020 Annual Report

As we reflect on our impact during the last decade, we're proud to have worked with the most diverse cross-section of organizations in the field, attracted or developed deep expertise on a range of issues, and built a talented team to deliver the nuanced and stress-tested results we're known for.

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"Staking Out the Middle Ground: Policy Design for Autonomous Schools" provides state and local leaders with key insights into the various contours of autonomous school policies. Two research briefs drawing from the full report provide specific summaries of Recommendations for State Leaders and Recommendations for Local Leaders. The report also surfaces lessons and recommendations from in-depth Profiles of Autonomous School Policies in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Massachusetts.

Cover image for Bellwether publication Staking Out the Middle Ground: Policy Design for Autonomous Schools February 2020

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