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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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Fed up with stagnant salaries, teachers have gone on strike all across the country over the past few years. Meanwhile, education spending is hitting all-time highs — but, by and large, the money isn’t going to teacher salaries.

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"Preparing Teachers for Diverse Schools: Lessons from Minority Serving Institutions" looks at how schools can revise policies, practices, and curricula to address the impact of race, gender, and class, and thereby better prepare educators to serve an increasingly diverse student population.

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"An Uneven Path: Student Achievement in Boston Public Schools 2007-2017" finds that Boston students outperform their peers in other cities on performance tests, but that a decade of tight budgets, aging facilities, and persistent achievement gaps in the city have narrowed Boston’s lead over its peers.

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National dialogue about teacher shortages is skewed by a flawed view that the issue is one generic problem. Reports in the 1980s and ’90s predicted a national teacher shortage crisis, but since then, teacher supply has actually kept up with student enrollment, creating a much less dire situation across subject areas. Today, shortages are a more localized issue.
Title image for Bellwether publication

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Historically, new teachers have received limited exposure to life in the classroom. “Trading Coursework for Classroom: Realizing the Potential of Teacher Residencies” outlines a promising deviation from this structure.
cover of Bellwether publication

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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

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As school districts across the country report various kinds of teacher shortages, how to retain teachers has emerged as a key area of interest for district leaders and policymakers. There are a variety of incentives and strategies to keep teachers in the profession, but which ones are most effective? Asking teachers themselves yields answers, some of which cut against the grain of conventional wisdom in the education community.

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A new profile highlights the co-teaching approach for dual language learners (DLLs) at Community of Peace Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota. The school’s approach holds lessons for other Minnesota schools and for teacher preparation policies in the state at large.

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Early childhood experts and advocates have long called for increasing the education and training of U.S. early childhood workers, and over the past two decades, policymakers have gradually increased credentialing requirements for teachers in Head Start and state-funded pre-K programs. The 2015 report from the National Academies Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation essentially endorsed that trend, recommending that states and other organizations build a system that requires and enables all lead educators in early childhood settings to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with specialized knowledge and competencies in early childhood education. In 2017 New America and Bellwether Education Partners brought together experts to discuss the group of educators who are poised to achieve this: lead pre-K educators who are teaching three- and four-year-olds in publicly funded classrooms within early learning centers and elementary schools.

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School districts across the country are reporting difficulties in hiring high-quality teachers, and states are being asked to respond. Our new slide deck, "Teacher Supply and Demand: How States Track Shortage Areas," surveys the landscape of how states track information on teacher supply and demand.

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