Our policy papers codify the learning from our community of practice and offer recommendations
to Chiefs as they shape the future of education in their states and districts.
April 4, 2017


Connecting the Dots

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states new freedoms to leverage federal programs toward a wide range of possibilities. But what does it look like to use that freedom in the most strategic and effective ways? State Chiefs are developing bold strategies to take advantage of the additional flexibility to use federal funding in more innovative and evidence-based ways. Leveraging this flexibility can be a powerful tool for leaders to meaningfully influence the work of schools and outcomes for students. Nationally, over $16 billion is currently spent each year on the two largest federal Title programs in ESSA – Title I and Title II – and ESSA provides new opportunities for states to invest these funds in smarter, forward-thinking ways.
February 9, 2017


State Leadership on Direct Student Services

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes a provision championed by Chiefs for Change that will address the access gaps that exist in far too many of our highest need schools and provide students and families with meaningful instructional choices to support their learning. The provision – Direct Student Services (DSS) – allows states to set aside 3% of Title I funding and award this to districts with a high number of schools identified for improvement that are committed to offering more meaningful learning opportunities, activities, courses, and services not otherwise available to students.
February 7, 2017


Using ESSA to Advance Equity & Excellence

When Congress passed ESSA in 2015, it created a requirement that states report per-pupil spending levels at both the district and individual school levels, disaggregating federal, state, and local funds, as well as personnel and non-personnel expenditures. In the coming months of 2017, states have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and a commitment to equity and excellence by not just complying with the requirement, but by designing and implementing a methodology that will allow districts to use data to make strategic and smart decisions for the equitable distribution of resources.
September 12, 2016


Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, and Other School Leaders

The Title II program under ESSA continues to focus on raising student achievement by improving the quality of teachers, principals, and other school leaders, and affords significant flexibility for states and districts to carry out a wide variety of activities, consistent with their specific needs. These opportunities are significant, as in 2016 $2.34 billion was appropriated for Title II. This brief provides specific pathways for states and districts to develop and implement programming in a strategic and collaborative manner in order to better prepare, develop, recruit, retain, and ensure equitable access to our strongest educators.
May 25, 2016


Rethinking School Improvement Strategies and Funding Under the Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires state education agencies (SEAs) to set aside 7% of their Title I funding in order to turn around struggling schools identified by states under their accountability systems. Nationwide, this translates to over $1 billion annually. Under ESSA, states have far greater flexibility to approach school improvement in fundamentally stronger ways, shifting decision-making from the federal government to SEAs and local education agencies (LEAs). This paper provides guidance for SEAs committed to advancing this newfound local flexibility and innovation, while also incentivizing LEAs to identify and implement evidence-based school improvement strategies and holding them accountable for results.
April 19, 2016


Leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act to Provide Direct Student Services

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes a new innovative provision championed by Chiefs for Change enabling families of students who attend struggling schools to obtain Direct Student Services (DSS). These services encompass a wide range of individualized academic opportunities and build upon efforts several states have taken in recent years to expand parental choice options as a way to improve student academic achievement. Direct Student Services may be supported through a 3% discretionary state reservation of Title I funding. While nearly all funds designated for DSS must be awarded to districts, states have the opportunity to play a large role in creating a broader vision for how these resources can help leverage efforts of districts to increase school success and improve student outcomes – bringing value to teachers, families, students, and taxpayers.