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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
    Kelly Robson
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
    Justin Trinidad

    Addressing the needs of students in this region requires deeper understanding and nuanced solutions that respond to the diversity of populations, geographies, urbanicity, and resources at work. "Education in the American South: Historical Context, Current State, and Future Possibilities", a comprehensive slide deck, aims to kick-start this discussion.

    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
    Hailly T.N. Korman
    Kelly Robson

  • 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

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Hailly T.N. Korman

    This report makes the case that the education system can serve as an effective through-line for children and youth experiencing traumatic life experiences by using two key levers for change: continuity of people and continuity of information.

  • 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
    Jason Weeby
    Kelly Robson
    George Mu

    Innovation is critical to advancing any sector. It increases the productivity of organizations, tests the merit of new ideas, and phases out practices that no longer work. Innovation-driven economies make current products, services, and organizations better and open up opportunities for new ones to emerge.

    Innovation is essential in the education sector too. To reverse the trend of widening achievement gaps, we’ll need new and improved education opportunities — alternatives to the centuries-old model for delivering education that under-performs for millions of high-need students.

    Yet compared to other sectors that have relied on continuous invention and improvement as a survival mechanism for decades, innovative policies and practices in the education sector are still nascent.

    To modernize education’s approach to innovation, Bellwether created The U.S. Education Innovation Index: Prototype and Report (USEII), the field’s first foray into measuring education innovation at the city level.

  • 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

    Education NextOver the last 50 years, thousands of Catholic schools have closed, most in low-income urban neighborhoods. Many of the remaining schools struggle with maintaining enrollment, attracting and retaining top-tier educators, and making financial ends meet.

  • 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
    Andy Smarick
    Kelly Robson

    Over the last generation, Catholic schools have been buffeted by a confluence of winds: changing demographics in the urban neighborhoods where many of their facilities are located, the disappearance of nuns and priests from classrooms, new competition from tuition-free charter schools, and other factors. Enrollments tumbled. 6,000 schools closed. Financial pressures thinned instructional resources.

    Yet two million children remain in Catholic schools today. This includes a great many low-income and minority youngsters for whom Catholic schooling is a lifeline in an otherwise dysfunctional neighborhood. And Catholic schools get enormous bang for their educational buck—posting graduation rates, college success patterns, and levels of constructive student behavior that much exceed the performance at counterpart public institutions.

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