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.
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- Educator Performance
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- School Turnaround and District Improvement
- State Takeover
- State-to-District Assistance
- Student Learning Objectives
- Systemic Reform
- Teacher and Principal Evaluation and Effectiveness
Publications and Reports
CTAC’s reports focus on cutting edge issues in education and community development. Our research and evaluation studies inform practice and guide policy decision-making at local, state and national levels.
Levers for Change: Pathways for State-to-District Assistance in Underperforming School Districts
New Directions in Christina: Accomplishments for Children, Challenges Ahead
This CTAC report shows that it is possible to increase student achievement for all student sub-groups, while also bridging the achievement gap. The Christina School District undertook system-wide reforms to address a persistent pattern of underachievement. The report reveals an unusually high level of education progress and highlights the successes gained by the district after a two-year intensive effort to improve education in their public schools. These efforts resulted in increased student achievement for all student sub-groups as measured on three major independent assessments. Moreover, African American and Hispanic students showed the greatest growth—for the first time ever in the district.
Guide for Standard Bearer Schools: Focusing on Causes to Improve Student Achievement
This CTAC guide explains the standards, tools and processes used in assisting entire school communities to identify and address the causal factors that affect student and school performance. The Standard Bearer Schools approach has been the bedrock of successful school turnaround initiatives. Using this process has increased student achievement for all subgroups in diverse urban school districts throughout the nation.
Advise and Consent: A Study of Collaborative Decision-Making in Denver
This CTAC evaluation examines the effectiveness of Collaborative Decision-Making (CDM), Denver’s strategy for site-based management and community involvement. The report analyzes and tests the correlation between school-level data, and perceptions of the school community as to the impact of CDM in its major priority areas. The recommendations provide a pathway for strengthening and using CDM as a more effective vehicle for improving educational opportunities for children.