November 1, 2020

Did School System Retirements Spike in 2020?

My Bellwether colleague Chad Aldeman and I took a look at teacher retirement data pre- and post-pandemic in seven states. While some feared a massive wave of retirements, it does not appear to be materializing:

After attempting to canvass all 50 states and Washington, D.C., we were able to get retirement data for Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. While this is not a random sample, it does capture about 865,000 active workers, including teachers and other education employees. Only one of the states in our sample, Alabama, reported a larger number of retirements this year than in recent years, and that by 7 percent.

Read the whole thing in The 74.


August 23, 2020

Refocusing the Priorities of Accountability

Today, we released the final brief in Bellwether’s summer series on the past, present, and future of school accountability. It takes a look at how policymakers might improve accountability systems by clarifying their priorities:

This is a critical moment for standards-based accountability policy. State summative testing and accountability systems were suspended for the 2019-20 school year and some states are indicating they’d like to continue that moratorium through the 2020-21 school year. After releasing three briefs looking at the past and present of state accountability systems, this brief asks the question: What should accountability for student learning look like next year and in the years to come?

Check out the final brief and the rest of the series here.


August 17, 2020

Why Joe Biden shouldn’t give up on public charter schools or standardized testing

My Bellwether colleague Chad Aldeman and I have a piece in the Washington Post arguing that Joe Biden ought not ignore the evidence on charter schools or assessments as he develops his presidential platform:

In other words, Biden’s platform committee is not only mischaracterizing the evidence in these two areas. It is doing so in a way that would damage the students and families that Biden, and Democratic voters, say they want to serve.

Read the whole thing here.


July 7, 2020


July 3, 2020

Post-Espinoza, It’s Time to Embrace More Pluralism

My reaction to the Espinoza decision in Ahead of the Heard:

The majority opinion in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue from Chief Justice Roberts could not be more clear: “A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.” With this ruling, “Blaine Amendments” in state constitutions were essentially repealed. It’s an unequivocal victory for school choice advocates on the question of who can operate a school with public funding, decidedly in favor of a pluralistic approach.

Read the whole thing here.