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Publications & Media

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

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Brandon Lewis
    Juliet Squire

    When rural charter schools succeed, what conditions enable their results? “Local Roots Take the Lead: Lessons From Rural Charter Schools” is a new website from Bellwether Education Partners that offers school leaders, funders, and authorizers a starting point to answer this question.
    Title image for Bellwether publication

  • Publication
    Juliet Squire
    Melissa Steel King
    Justin Trinidad

    In this publication, we sought to understand the landscape of private schools working to provide an affordable education by looking at the approaches they are taking and how they are revisiting traditional operating models. We profile a variety of strategies used by schools to improve access for middle- and low-income families. Some schools rely on reducing the costs to families (i.e., tuition) by providing significant financial aid or partnering with scholarship programs, some have found inventive new revenue streams, and some have streamlined operations and leveraged technology to reduce their per-pupil expenditures.

  • Publication
    Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
    Katrina Boone
    Juliet Squire
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess

    In this slide deck, "The Challenges and Opportunities in School Transportation Today," we examine the scope and importance of the school transportation sector, analyze the challenges that districts and contractors face when providing transportation services, highlight the critical decisions system leaders must make in allocating limited resources, and identify opportunities for improving service and reducing costs.

    Title image for Bellwether publication

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Juliet Squire
    Lynne Graziano

    "Fairness in Facilities" takes a look at recent district and charter school construction projects in three Idaho communities and finds that charter schools are building facilities at a similar cost per square foot as district schools, but at a much lower cost per seat. Moreover, the facilities funding that public schools have access to is not equal across the sector.
    Title image for Bellwether publication

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Kaitlin Pennington
    Juliet Squire

    Teachers’ unions are a powerful force in local, state, and federal politics, but Janus vs. the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) could change that. At the heart of this case is a key source of union revenue: agency fees. This analysis offers an accurate and objective set of information to those wanting to inform their understanding of this historic case.
    cover of Bellwether slide deck

  • Media

    U.S. News & World Report - 3 ways Education Secretary Betsy DeVos can better support rural schools.

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Juliet Squire

    Currently, about 6,000 Idaho students are on waitlists for charter schools. And the state is expected to add nearly 22,000 new prek-12 students by fall 2022. The charter sector can help ensure these students have access to a high-quality school, but only if it is able to grow and expand. Unfortunately, future growth in the charter sector is stymied by its limited access to facilities financing.

    In "Building Excellence: How Helping Charters Access Facilities Can Improve Opportunity for Idaho Kids,” we use survey data we collected from Idaho’s charter school leaders to quantify the stark discrepancy in access to state and local facilities funding sources between district and charter schools.

  • Publication
    Juliet Squire
    Allison Crean Davis

    Tens of thousands of individuals across the United States volunteer their time, energy, and expertise as members of charter school boards. Yet as the charter sector has grown, we’ve learned remarkably little about these individuals who make key operational decisions about their schools and have legal and moral responsibilities for the education of children in their communities.

    "Charter School Boards in the Nation’s Capital" is one of the first attempts to use quantitative survey data to explore the relationship between charter boards and school quality. In partnership with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Bellwether authors Juliet Squire and Allison Crean Davis queried charter school board members in Washington, D.C. — a city with one of the highest percentage of public charter school students in the nation — to determine who serves on District charter boards and which board practices are associated with school quality.

  • Publication
    Juliet Squire
    Andy Smarick
    Kelly Robson

    Recently, private school leaders have taken notice of some of the propelling forces behind charter school growth: charter management organizations (CMOs) and education management organizations (EMOs). To achieve sustainability and growth in the private school sector, some private schools have adopted a network model through private school management organizations (PSMOs), which are independent entities that operate or help operate three or more private schools.

    In this study, Bellwether's Juliet Squire, Andy Smarick, and Kelly Robson examine the operations of existing PSMOs and define them by typologies. The authors also warn of potential pitfalls, surface questions for future research, and recommend ways to engage with these fledgling organizations.

  • Publication
    Juliet Squire
    Kelly Robson
    Andy Smarick

    In 1997, the Buckeye State embraced a new approach to public-education delivery, launching a pilot program of community (charter) schools. Since then, the state's community schools sector has grown tremendously. During the 2013-14 school year, 390 schools served approximately 124,000 students—seven percent of students statewide.

  • Publication
    Andy Smarick
    Juliet Squire

    Thomas B. Fordham Institute's Flypaper Blog: When it comes to state education agencies (SEAs), ed-reformers have fallen into a sorry rut. As states have emerged as primary drivers of much-needed changes in K–12 practice and policy, the SEA has become the default agent-of-change for a vast number of initiatives concocted by policymakers in state capitals and Washington alike.