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Publications and Media

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Publications & Media

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

  • Media

    EdSurge -- Rural schools have received little attention in national conversations around education reform—even though they serve nearly 1 in 5 students in America.

  • 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.

  • Media

    The Atlantic -- In a small marine community in Maine, the crustaceans have long been a key to economic livelihood—but now, they're entering education.

  • Media

    The Detroit News -- When it comes to education policy, some look to Washington or to Lansing. But the real action is closer to home.

  • Media

    U.S. News & World Report -- Public policy too often ignores studnets in lower grades.

  • Publication
    Chad Aldeman

    In "Grading Schools: How States Should Define ‘School Quality’ Under the Every Student Succeeds Act,” author Chad Aldeman argues that accountability systems are a state’s best tool to signal what it values and how schools should be working to improve.

    But if states fail to take advantage of that opportunity, they may not provide sufficient urgency for schools to improve, especially for the disadvantaged students who rely on public schools the most and who have historically been underserved by them.

  • Media

    Education Next -- Somewhere between 10 and 30 percent of all new teachers are hired after the school year begins. These late hires come in with lower college GPAs, are less likely to have prior teaching experience, and are less likely to be licensed in the area they’ll be asked to teach. Late hires tend to be concentrated in certain low-performing 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.

  • Media

    WETA/WHUT TV -- A one-hour town hall event Rethinking High School with Soledad O'Brien -- a moderated panel discussion with students, teachers, education leaders and parents on innovating high school education -- from the historic campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. 

  • Media

    The 74 Million -- Both teachers and NFL players are among the very few careers that offer a pension for retirement. The problem is that the pension system really isn’t very good for either.

  • Media

    PDK Poll -- What should we do about low-performing schools? When the Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools asked Americans their preference between closing down a “public school that has been failing for a number of years” or keeping it open and trying to improve it, 84% said keep it open.

  • 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.