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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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A new generation of education technology is gaining traction in America’s schools. Yet the most highly touted uses of education technology barely scratch the surface of its potential impact on education. Bellwether Education Partners’ Policy Playbook for Personalized Learning is designed to help state and local policymakers identify the policy changes needed to expand access to quality personalized learning in their states and communities, and to give them the tools to make those changes.

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The implication of the experience in Washington State is that teacher pension systems can be reformed in a way that is attractive to both teachers and states and ensures that significant resources are being set aside for teacher retirements.

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The Detroit News - Exactly 50 years ago this month, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered the commencement address at the University of Michigan, and for the first time he explained his vision for “The Great Society.” It focused largely on America’s cities and its schools.

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There is a growing belief that students can provide valuable feedback on a teacher’s performance in the classroom. Student perception surveys are increasingly seen as a low-cost and reliable tool for gathering data and feedback on the quality of teaching in individual classrooms. However, incorporating student surveys into formal, high-stakes teacher evaluation and development systems has its challenges. In this paper, Jeff Schulz, Gunjan Sud, and Becky Crowe highlight the experience of states, districts, charter management organizations, and teacher preparation programs that are “early adopters” of student perception surveys.

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The Washington Post - Many state teacher pension plans and retirement systems are unsustainable. Yet trying to fix the funding gap by throwing up obstacles and making the plans stingier ignores the main purpose of retirement plans in the first place: to offer all workers a path to an attractive and secure retirement.

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Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a new form of digital learning that has enthralled some, infuriated others, and changed the conversation about higher education in the U.S. and abroad. Lost in this polarizing debate is a clear assessment of how this new medium is actually affecting postsecondary education and how it could be used in the future.

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The past decade saw unprecedented progress on teacher quality. Policymakers came to embrace two key research-based ideas: teachers are the single most important in-school factor for student achievement, and traditional methods of measuring teacher quality have little to no bearing on actual student learning. ...


In Genuine Progress, Greater Challenges: A Decade of Teacher Effectiveness Reforms, Andrew J. Rotherham and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel analyze what spurred the past decade of progress in teacher quality policy, today’s status quo, and what corrections and next steps policymakers and philanthropists should take.

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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.

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Saving for retirement is a nationwide problem — a recent study found that 92 percent of households do not meet retirement savings targets for their age and income. Yet for most workers, public policies are not the root cause of their lack of savings. For public school teachers, however, poorly structured policies put in place over the past few decades by states and cities can exacerbate their retirement insecurity.

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