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Publications & Media

Learn more about Bellwether’s work by reading our publications, news articles, press releases, and case studies.

  • Publication
    Chad Aldeman
    Anne Hyslop
    Max Marchitello
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
    Kaitlin Pennington

    The 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) ushered in a new era for state accountability systems. ESSA provided states an opportunity to help all students succeed by rethinking both how they identify schools that need to improve, and how those schools might be improved. The law requires states to submit a formal plan to the Department of Education for peer review and then begin implementing that plan in the 2017-18 school year. Read our findings after reviewing the accountability plans for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

  • Publication
    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 likeness is the predominant symbol for education.

    There’s good reason for this. Since the yellow school bus came on the scene decades ago, almost nothing has changed about the vehicles or how school systems use them to transport students.

    But do school transportation systems still meet the needs of current students, families, and schools? In "Miles to Go: Bringing School Transportation into the 21st Century,” we analyze school transportation on a national scale through multiple lens.

  • Publication
    Jennifer Schiess
    Carolyn Chuong

    Around the country, a growing number of schools and districts are leveraging personalized learning — an instructional model centered around student needs and customization to meet individual skill levels, learning styles, and interests. Although the approach is gaining traction, efforts to develop high-quality personalized learning models have largely been concentrated in urban schools. For most of the nearly one in five students attending rural schools in America, the schooling experience has yet to embrace these promising innovations in teaching and learning.

    This is a missed opportunity for rural areas, where schools face significant challenges — both similar to those in urban contexts and unique to rural communities. Many rural students face bleak postsecondary outcomes, and rural schools frequently confront geographic isolation, human capital shortages, and a rapidly changing economy. Personalized learning could help overcome some of these challenges by increasing student access to highly effective teachers and specialized coursework and by deepening the connections between K-12 schooling and postsecondary opportunities.

    This paper, "The Promise of Personalized Learning in Rural America,” explores the application of personalized learning in rural schools, discusses and proposes solutions to the practical and policy barriers to implementation, and shares lessons learned from early adopters, including three case studies from rural communities in different parts of the country. The paper also addresses policy challenges, particularly around testing and accountability structures that may be incompatible with personalized learning, and funding constraints that challenge the transition to a new model.

  • Publication
    Andrew J. Rotherham
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    Education is not getting much attention on the presidential campaign trail, but that doesn’t mean the next administration won’t face a variety of opportunities and challenges in the education sector.

    In fact, the relative silence is misleading. Given the changes and competing pressures buffeting America’s education system, leaders in the Department of Education will have their hands full with vexing problems and new and emerging issues. Here is just a sampling of the issues policymakers will face:

    • Improving access to early childhood education
    • Expanding choice and school options for parents
    • Addressing student loans and higher education accountability
    • Improving access to early childhood education
    • Making competitive grant programs more effective
    • Tapping technological innovations to help students and teachers
    • Ensuring healthy food for kids in school

    16 for 2016: 16 Education Policy Ideas for the Next President offers a set of innovative, provocative, and forward-looking policy ideas addressing different aspects of the education world from thinkers and doers with a range of backgrounds and experiences. To build it, Bellwether Education Partners convened experts, talked with teachers and leaders in the field, and listened to a range of ideas.

    The contributors are Democrats, Republicans, and political independents, and the ideas span the ideological spectrum. The authors are a blend of high-profile advocates and analysts, practitioners and policy wonks, education insiders and people whose work only tangentially touches education, and familiar voices along with fresh ones. Featured authors include higher education experts Andrew P. Kelly and Michael Dannenberg, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, education journalist RiShawn Biddle, entrepreneur Victor Reinoso, innovator Alex Hernandez, alternative school leader and former Reagan administration official Gary Jones, Olympic gold medalist Steve Mesler, Bellwether analysts, and more from inside, around, and outside the education sector. What they share is a commitment to trying new things and making the education system more effective for the people it is designed to serve: students.

    This diversity of thought means that at least some recommendations will appeal to the next administration regardless of who wins the election or leads the next president’s education efforts. The collection of policy ideas covers parental empowerment, food and nutrition, human trafficking, early childhood education, career and technical education, school choice, alternative education, and much more.

    Click here to read the report.

  • Publication
    Jennifer Schiess
    Kelly Robson
    Carolyn Chuong
    Kaitlin Pennington

    To ensure that the public education system delivers on its promise of great outcomes for all kids, we need a shared understanding of the facts to help us assess the system, identify challenges, and develop viable solutions.

    The Learning Landscape presents a balanced assessment of the status of education in the United States by aggregating high quality research and data from numerous credible sources.

    Each chapter describes the context and the current state of play in each focus area and highlights key policy issues and trends affecting public education now and in the future.

    Browse by chapter below, or visit www.thelearninglandscape for more.

    Chapter 1: Student Achievement
    Chapter 2: Accountability, Standards, & Assessment
    Chapter 3: School Finance
    Chapter 4: Teacher Effectiveness
    Chapter 5: Charter Schools
    Chapter 6: Philanthropy

  • Media

    The 74 Million -- Live coverage of the 2016 Republican National Convention