Levers for Change: Pathways for State-to-District Assistance in Underperforming School Districts

When school districts fail their responsibilities to educate students, state departments of education have to step up and be the responsible party. But do the state agencies have the knowledge and capacity to do what the districts have not done? This CTAC report shows that the most critical lessons from years of state-to-district interventions are in the effective use of three levers for change. State interventions at the district level have educational, organizational, and political dimensions, but these interventions are largely approached from just a one dimensional perspective—educational. Unless the organizational and political dimensions are addressed concurrently with the educational dimension, successful state-to-district interventions will continue to be elusive for the states. This report was commissioned by the Center for American Progress.