Publications & Resources | Bellwether Education Partners Skip to main content

Publications & Resources

News and Press

You are here

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.

Publication

Today, and on any given day in the U.S., tens of thousands of students are attending school behind bars. Juvenile justice education fails many of these students, resulting in a double punishment for youth: the punitive experience of incarceration for their alleged offense and the potentially catastrophic disruptions of their educational pathway.

Bellwether Education Partners’ new report, Double Punished: Locked Out of Opportunity, reviews juvenile justice education policies in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. We focused our review on three related sets of policy tools that are crucial for improving outcomes for youth who are incarcerated: governance, accountability, and finance. While each of these policy tools creates opportunities for reform, designing all three to be mutually reinforcing has broader impact at the system level. However, our review of current state policies shows that there is much to improve.

Publication

Parents across the country continue to be concerned about their children’s academic and social-emotional well-being. Some parents are sufficiently satisfied with their children’s school and are content with a return to a pre-pandemic normal. Other parents are sufficiently dissatisfied and have already made a change, whether between schools, to home-schooling, or with supplemental learning opportunities. In between is a third group of parents — those who are frustrated and have not yet made a change, but are looking to policymakers and education leaders for solutions.

New Solutions for Frustrated Parents: How Education Leaders Can Help offers four recommendations for policymakers and education leaders to address the discontent among parents as the 2021-22 school year comes to a close.

Publication

To make their ambitions a reality, to make the irrational actionable, and to move from a narrow theory of action to achieving a successful theory of population-level change, education entrepreneurs must consider working across three strategies for impact.

Rooted in promising practices from the education sector, A Pragmatic Playbook for Impact: Direct, Widespread, and Systemic is a practical resource for decision-makers to maximize their impact, further equity, and respond to the urgency of this moment amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Publication

The Parent Perception Barometer brings clarity and context to conversations about what parents think about K-12 education. From parents’ high-level perceptions about their kids’ schools to concerns about academic progress and mental health, multiple data sources provide insight into these trends. Some of the data highlight topics about which parent opinion is more divided. There is no substitute for directly engaging with parents and families to understand what educational opportunities and support they need, but this tool serves as a starting point for those working to better understand aggregated parents’ views on K-12 education, the broader landscape, and how both are evolving as the pandemic progresses.

Publication

In Massachusetts, state leaders created the Horace Mann charter school model as a hybrid between the charter and district sectors: These schools have much of the same flexibility as charter schools but are approved by, and remain part of, their local school districts.

Horace Mann Charter Schools: Their Past, Present, and Promise analyzes the extent to which the Horace Mann school model lives up to its founding legislation, and outlines a set of recommendations to better support its success as well as incorporate the model into strategies for district improvement.

Publication

Nationwide, English learners (ELs) are a fast-growing and diverse student population in the K-12 public school system. Today, the Southeast region of the U.S. is home to more than 710,000 EL students, who speak about 400 different languages and account for 15% of EL students in the country. This number is quickly increasing as certain states in the region see unprecedented growth in EL enrollment. Despite the trends, state education finance systems in the Southeast have not adapted to support the unique learning needs of EL students.

Bellwether Education Partners’ report, Improving Education Finance Equity for English Learners in the Southeast, examines state funding policy structures and data in nine Southeastern states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee — and shares a set of policy recommendations based on promising, equitable funding practices.

Publication

To understand the needs and opportunities for supporting rural schools, Bellwether Education Partners interviewed 30 educators, nonprofit leaders, and funders and surveyed more than 80 rural district and charter school leaders in Colorado.

Bellwether’s case study, Support for Rural Colorado Schools: How Philanthropy and Districts Came Together to Serve Students in 2020, and report, Support for Rural Colorado Schools Survey: Opportunities for Philanthropy to Address District Needs identify promising practices from funders’ early responses to the pandemic and pinpoint the most urgent needs of rural districts today, nearly two years after schools first closed their doors.

Publication

Cover page for Expanding Educational Options: Emergent Policy Trends.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way that families and policymakers view K-12 education. Learning loss is having an outsized impact on students who were furthest from opportunity before the pandemic. And families are increasingly looking for new educational options for their children.

Expanding Educational Options: Emergent Policy Trends examines some of the most important trends in the realm of option-expanding state policies, along with recommendations to ensure that all families have equitable access to these educational opportunities.

Publication

Banner image for Splitting the Bill education finance inequity series

Education finance sets the foundation for what is possible in every school in the country. Education finance equity is critical to leveling the playing field for underserved students in under-resourced schools. But in too many states, the education funding system remains inequitable, inadequate, and opaque to all but a few. How can advocates make these systems work more effectively in order to provide the necessary resources for all students?

Bellwether Education Partners’ series Splitting the Bill: Understanding Education Finance Equity gives advocates a crash course in the fundamentals of education finance and in key questions to ask in their states and communities.

Publication

In October 2020, “Missing in the Margins: Estimating the Scale of the COVID-19 Attendance Crisis” estimated that as many as 3 million K-12 students were at high risk of experiencing minimal or no educational access from spring through fall 2020 as a result of the pandemic. That number became a shorthand for understanding the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on America’s students, particularly those furthest from opportunity.

Fast-forward one year later, and available data on 2020-21 enrollment, attendance, and engagement suggest massive missed learning opportunities, especially among the most marginalized students.

Pages