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Publications & Resources

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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A new resource guide created by Bellwether Education Partners in partnership with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools looks at the implications of federal COVID-19 response legislation passed in March 2020 for public charter schools.

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An easy-to-use, practical resource that aims to help leaders make decisions and actionable plans amid the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. The planning framework that is the crux of this toolkit takes leaders through four key steps: Reground, Prioritize, Plan, and Connect.

Screenshot of Bellwether publication COVID-19 Strategic Planning Toolkit for Education & Nonprofit Leaders

You can also watch a series of interviews with school leaders who used this toolkit below:


Click below to learn more about this fillable Excel template.

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Each year thousands of youth in America are uprooted from their schools and communities and sent to a juvenile justice detention center. While in these facilities, young people are entitled to the same educational opportunities that they would have in the outside world. However, there is little research or data about this population. In “Educating Youth in Short-Term Detention,” we found that youth’s educational experiences in these facilities often compound, rather than alleviate, the challenges they face.

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In response to financial pressures, the New York State Assembly has created new, less-generous retirement plans for teachers and other educators. Employees are assigned to a benefit tier depending on their hire date. There are now six tiers, and each one offers workers less-generous benefits than the prior version.

How far have the benefits fallen, and does the current tier structure provide sufficient retirement benefits?

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Title image for Bellwether 2020 Annual Report

As we reflect on our impact during the last decade, we're proud to have worked with the most diverse cross-section of organizations in the field, attracted or developed deep expertise on a range of issues, and built a talented team to deliver the nuanced and stress-tested results we're known for.

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"Staking Out the Middle Ground: Policy Design for Autonomous Schools" provides state and local leaders with key insights into the various contours of autonomous school policies. Two research briefs drawing from the full report provide specific summaries of Recommendations for State Leaders and Recommendations for Local Leaders. The report also surfaces lessons and recommendations from in-depth Profiles of Autonomous School Policies in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Massachusetts.

Cover image for Bellwether publication Staking Out the Middle Ground: Policy Design for Autonomous Schools February 2020

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"Wide-Open Spaces: Schooling in Rural America Today” provides education policymakers with a factbase on America’s rural schools and communities: the economic and academic challenges they face, their unique assets, and opportunities for improvement.

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In "Social Security, Teacher Pensions, and the ‘Qualified’ Retirement Plan Test," Aldeman outlines the history of Social Security benefits in the public sector, describes the current rule and how it is intended to work, and then shows its limitations.

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Autonomous District Schools: Lessons From the Field on a Promising Strategy" summarizes Bellwether’s work with San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) over the past 18 months. The district has authorized three networks of autonomous district schools using a law that supports and incentivizes the creation of these schools. Bellwether provided program design support, strategic advice, and capacity building to SAISD’s Network Principal Initiative, and this deck offers an overview of the initiative and the lessons we learned about the launch of autonomous district schools.

This slide deck is accompanied by a tool kit, “Autonomous District Schools: Tools for Planning and Launching," which offers concrete resources for leaders interested in planning an autonomous school or network.

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School Performance Frameworks: Lessons, Cases, and Purposeful Design is a deep dive into how local education leaders can create, implement, and sustain effective SPFs. The report details established, locally focused SPFs in New York City, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., and draws on research and interviews with SPF experts across the country.

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