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Focus Area:
Accountability and State Oversight

State legislatures, governors, advocacy groups, and citizens are calling on state education agencies (SEAs) to do more to drive changes in K-12 education. In order to meet these new demands, states will need to restructure work along several fronts, including brokering support to struggling schools and districts, raising standards and expectations, addressing weaknesses in the teacher and principal labor market, and strengthening connections between early childhood education, K-12, higher education, and careers. They will need to act on these issues at a time of constrained resources. Our work explores how SEAs can meet the increasing demands they face.

We ask:

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

Envisioning the SEA of the FutureCRPE contributes an annual volume to the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center, a U.S. Department of Education-funded center that provides technical assistance to states. The SEA of the Future examines how SEAs are adapting to the growing demands for productivity in the face of tight fiscal realities.

State Regulatory Frameworks for Portfolio Cities State legal frameworks deeply influence how well a city can pursue the portfolio strategy. With the right leadership, cities can work to transform local public education, but they can be more successful when their state provides a policy environment that supports transformation. What changes in state law are needed to allow full implementation of the portfolio strategy? To answer this question, CRPE has mapped state barriers as well as proposed solutions relating to each element of the portfolio strategy, showing what a state can do to allow a city to advance its school system. CRPE has translated this work into model legislation, which provides not only a robust pathway for cities wishing to pursue the portfolio strategy, but also incorporates complementary education solutions, including a new conceptualization of local school boards, independent administration of education facilities, and remedies to district financial crises.

When Times Get Tough, States Must Double Down on Investments That Pay Off

Last week, the Louisiana House of Representatives approved $106 million in cuts to address a budget shortfall caused in part by falling oil and gas prices. As reported by the Associated Press, almost half of...

How to Restore Local Control Without Going Backwards

New Orleanians can have it both ways—return schools to local control and build on the academic gains made since 2005. Yes, local control could mean the return of politics and bureaucracy that weaken schools and...

“Batter Up!” Advice as States Step Up to the Plate on ESEA Implementation

With the rewritten Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), responsibility for improving outcomes for students is back where some say it has always belonged—under the purview of states. One thing is clear: as states take...

The Street-Level Politics of School Reform

Paul Hill and Ashley Jochim profile portfolio strategy efforts in five cities and offer lessons for leaders to sustain long-term education reform amid political opposition.

Fix Online Charter School Policy: It’s Past Time

Today CREDO, Mathematica Policy Research, and CRPE released three papers as part of the first comprehensive rigorous national study of online charter schools. The findings show that even using the most careful methods given the...

The Policy Framework for Online Charter Schools

CRPE partnered with Mathematica and CREDO on a rigorous analysis of online charter schools. Our paper examines how state policy shapes the online charter school landscape.

Governance and Its Limits

Ashley Jochim explains how the formal tools of public education governance can be limited because of institutional inertia and a weak leadership pipeline in this blog originally published in Fordham’s Flypaper. The push to raise...

Brand Name Reforms in Rural Education

This is the last in series of four blogs originally published on Brand-name reforms common in urban education reform – e.g. alternative sources of teachers, technology-based instruction, family choice, charter schools – can have...

Resource Constraints in Rural Education

This is the third blog in a four-part series originally published on Rural schools are highly constrained, both in the resources that receive from state and local sources and in the ways they are...

College and Career Connections in Rural Schools

This is the second blog in a four-part series originally published on Though rural K-12 education in most places is performing reasonably well on traditional academic instruction, schools need to give young people better...

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