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Accountability and State Oversight

States, along with legislatures, governors, advocacy groups, and citizens, are urging state education agencies to drive changes in K-12 education. The restructuring of work on various fronts, such as supporting struggling schools, raising standards, addressing labor market weaknesses, and strengthening educational connections, is necessary to meet these demands. Importantly, these efforts must be undertaken amidst constrained resources. The focus of our work is to explore how SEAs can effectively respond to the increasing demands they face.

Key questions guiding this exploration include:

  • What capacities need to be developed for states to act on reform agendas?
  • How can state agencies balance their compliance responsibilities with the demand for services and public oversight of K-12?
  • What actions can state legislatures, governors, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders take to support the work of SEAs?

Many have observed that the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act provides states a prime opportunity to support improvement in K-12 education. But can state chiefs, historically weak and with few formal powers, deliver?...

Paul Hill and Ashley Jochim offer ideas and examples for how state chiefs can best use their powers to effectively lead the improvement of schools and districts.

Polarization was the theme of 2016, and we’d be kidding ourselves to think that will be much different in 2017. Still, there has rarely been more need for new ideas that people can begin to...

In the ongoing debate about federal and state roles in K–12 public education, states got a leg up with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). It renounces the strong regulatory role that...

The Every Student Succeeds Act abandons the prescriptive approach to school improvement embraced by both the No Child Left Behind Act and the Obama Administration’s flexibility waivers. Instead, states are empowered to craft their own...

This paper provides the first comprehensive review of the research to date on state interventions, assessing the advantages and limits of five common turnaround approaches and outlining key ingredients for success.

The new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives heavy deference to “local control.” School districts, charter schools, and communities are meant to be in the driver’s seat. And they are. States don’t improve student...

To people in education, the Wells Fargo scandal sounds eerily familiar. Top executives tried to increase performance by setting ambitious goals for opening new accounts, and attaching big rewards and penalties. Managers believed internal reports...

The Common Core State Standards Initiative was designed to solve a problem that has plagued past standard-setting efforts. Many states responded to earlier efforts by watering down their standards for learning and lowering expectations for...

Betheny Gross and Paul Hill discuss the challenges and opportunities for state-level experimentation created by the Every Student Succeeds Act, in the Harvard Law and Policy Review.

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