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Chad Aldeman

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Chad Aldeman
Senior Associate Partner
Policy and Evaluation

Background: Chad Aldeman is a senior associate partner at Bellwether Education Partners, where he has worked on the Policy and Evaluation team since 2012, advising clients and writing on teacher preparation, teacher evaluation, and college and career readiness. He also serves as editor for TeacherPensions.org. Previously, Chad was a policy adviser in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education, where he worked on Elementary and Secondary Education Act waivers, teacher preparation, and the Teacher Incentive Fund. Prior to joining the department, Chad was a policy analyst with Education Sector. He has published reports on state higher education accountability systems, the potential of improving high school accountability by incorporating outcomes data, the school choice process in New York City and Boston, teacher pensions, teacher and principal evaluations, teacher salary schedules, and teacher preparation. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, InsideHigherEd, Newsday, and the Des Moines Register. Chad holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a master’s of public policy degree from the College of William and Mary.

Experience at Bellwether: policy research and analysis, long- and short-form writing, strategic advising

Client segments served: state education agencies; product, support, and service organizations; policy organizations; think tanks

Sample clients: Rhode Island Department of Education, ACT, Stand for Children, the Joyce Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Why I do this work: I’ve been passionate about education since reading Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities. I believe that luck—where you’re born or which family you’re born into—has a strong affect on educational opportunities, and I want to make sure schools do everything they can to address those inequities.

Recent Media

Publication
Alex Spurrier
Chad Aldeman
Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
Andrew J. Rotherham

For nearly two decades, state and federal policymakers have built standards-based accountability systems as a way to improve educational outcomes and to ensure that all students are held to the same rigorous standards. While the standards-based reform era has not fully lived up to the lofty goals of its early proponents, it has demonstrated some successes. Achievement scores and graduation rates have risen since the implementation of standards-based accountability systems, particularly for the most disadvantaged students, and we have much more information on school performance than we did prior to adoption of these policies, particularly for traditionally underserved students.

Yet those results have come with trade-offs. Imposing state standards limits teacher autonomy. Testing all students every year takes time out of the school day and costs money. And criticisms of standardized tests and their limitations as measures of quality, as well as pushback against how the data is used to drive decisions that affect schools, educators, and students have mounted over time. As federal accountability requirements have placed more pressure on states and schools, support for accountability has eroded on both the left and right ends of the political spectrum.

As a global pandemic interrupted purposefully designed systems of testing and accountability, we are left with critical questions: How does the underlying theory of standards-based accountability and its foundational goals of equity and transparency hold up decades later? What do key stakeholders need from these systems now? Given what we’ve learned from decades of successes and failures, how should these systems continue to evolve in the face of mounting political opposition?