POLICY PAPERS

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.
August 8, 2017

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT

Leveraging Curriculum to Improve Student Learning

A relatively nascent but powerful body of research suggests that content-rich, standards-aligned, and high-quality curricula exert a powerful influence on student achievement. There is also early evidence that switching to a high-quality curriculum may be a more cost-effective way to raise student achievement than several other school-level interventions. Leading states and districts – from New York to Louisiana to Washington, D.C. – are showing how smart strategies can be used to ensure that high-quality standards are matched with high-quality instructional materials, leading to strong student outcomes – without trampling on local control of education.
April 4, 2017

EVIDENCE & FUNDING

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.
October 16, 2016

ESSA INDICATORS

Indicators of School Quality and Student Success

Before considering new indicators, states will want to critically examine the quality and validity of all the existing indicators in their systems, particularly with regard to any performance targets in their annual growth indicators and so as to ensure that these are consistent with their ESSA-required state-wide interim and longterm academic achievement targets. Nevertheless, ESSA clearly also requires at least one indicator of school quality as part of a state’s accountability system, thus providing an important opportunity to focus on new indicators that could contribute to continuous improvement in educational outcomes.
July 7, 2016

ESSA & EVIDENCE

Why It Matters

ESSA incentivizes states to use evidence-based programs and interventions in districts and schools. Doing so will lead to stronger student outcomes at reasonable cost; not doing so throws dollars after uncertain or even negative outcomes for students and schools. The purpose of this policy brief is to suggest how state Chiefs might navigate ESSA’s evidence-based provisions effectively. We clarify what ESSA requires in terms of the use of evidence-based policies, what each standard of evidence means, and how state Chiefs might create a climate in which research-based policies become the default choice for district interventions.
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