Public Impact works in other areas that influence and guide public education policy and management including school finance, philanthropy, special populations, and technology in education. Use the menu at the left to browse Public Impact’s work in these areas or see below for featured reports.
Leading Charlotte foundations formed a funding collaborative to support a five-year district turnaround initiative to dramatically improve educational outcomes for students in the West Charlotte High School corridor, one of the city’s lowest-performing feeder zones. The “Project L.I.F.T.” initiative involves four areas of education intervention: increasing teacher effectiveness; extending learning time; increasing access to and use of technology; and engaging parents and the community in schools. This report examines the genesis of the Project L.I.F.T. initiative, the partnership between the district and private and corporate philanthropists, and strategies to achieve improved graduation rates, student performance, and student growth in the Project L.I.F.T. learning community. Just past the midway point in implementation, the report also considers Project L.I.F.T.’s early successes, impact on the district, and lessons learned. Download the Full Report or the Executive Summary.
A better, bigger, broader charter school sector—that’s what the U.S. needs to meet students’ needs in a competitive and interconnected world, this report says. Twenty-five years after the first charter law was enacted in Minnesota, the public charter school sector has helped spark significant public education improvements, particularly for urban students and students of color. But the U.S. lags behind other developed countries in student achievement, about 1 million students are on charter school waiting lists nationwide, and many student groups are still underserved by all public schools, traditional and charter. This report, co-authored by The Mind Trust and Public Impact, calls on all involved in charter schools to make the sector better, broader, and bigger in order to expand its reach and meet the students’ needs—which will require innovation that breaks the mold of most schools today. The report recommends various steps charter school operators, policymakers, city-based education organizations, and philanthropic funders may take to spur more innovation in the sector.
Technology holds great potential for rural schools, such as extending the reach of excellent teachers and expanding course offerings. But digital devices in a pre-digital school structure will not transform K-12. This paper, written for the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho, offers policymakers and philanthropic leaders a set of recommendations to capitalize on the potential of technology to serve students: expand broadband access to schools lacking it, create an elite corps of proven teachers who would be made available to students across the state, and provide districts and schools with the flexibility to develop new models of staffing and technology and to achieve the most strategic combination of personnel, facilities, and technology.
In the U.S., STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math—face urgent needs for great STEM teachers and well-educated students. An Opportunity Culture can help by extending the reach of excellent STEM teachers already in our schools and creating a teaching profession that attracts and retains these teachers through higher pay, within regular budgets, and multiple advancement opportunities. The Education Leaders’ Brief summarizes the grim facts about STEM employment and learning in the U.S. today, emerging efforts to stem the shortage of skilled teachers, and how an Opportunity Culture can help. The companion slide deck provides more statistics and graphics to explain the huge need for more and better STEM teachers; how to attract and retain great STEM teachers; and how to extend the reach of the excellent STEM teachers we already have, paying them much more within regular budgets, and giving them opportunities to lead and develop peers on the job.
This report, co-authored by the organization now known as Education Cities and Public Impact, profiles three high-impact city-based organizations that are taking significant strides toward reforming their cities’ education systems: The Mind Trust in Indianapolis, New Schools for New Orleans, and The Skillman Foundation in Detroit. Through these organizations’ efforts, the report identifies a core set of lessons learned for leaders in other cities: (1) Find the right leader or leadership team; (2) Embrace strategies and theories of change that reflect local markets; (3) Develop a bold, comprehensive plan for reform; (4) Grow talent pipelines; (5) Support a strong, high-quality charter sector; (6) Invest in innovation; and, (7) Engage stakeholders in the community to accelerate reform.
Funding a Better Education: Conclusions from the First Three Years of Student-Based Budgeting in Hartford
This report, prepared for Achieve Hartford!, aims to determine the impact the first three years of student-based budgeting (SBB) have had on funding equity, transparency, and principals’ sense of autonomy in Hartford Public Schools. Using six years of finance data and interviews with nine principals who led schools both before and after the district’s implementation of SBB, the report concludes that SBB is off to a strong start in Hartford. The report also notes that the district has faced several implementation challenges, which if addressed, could make SBB more impactful.
In this collection of essays, Education Sector asked commentators to address a set of dilemmas facing the nation in the current reform moment. Bryan Hassel and Emily Ayscue Hassel tackled one: will the Common Core and new teacher evaluation systems strangle innovation? These reforms, they argue, would have been perfectly timed for 1962, with fifty years ahead of seat-time based grade levels and a one-teacher-one-classroom staffing model. But what about now, when the combination of new staffing models and digital learning has huge potential to transform everything? Will the Common Core and individual teacher evaluation hold us back exactly when we could be surging ahead? Not necessarily, the Hassels argue. But to sidestep that trap, states need to think of the new systems as iterations, not final destinations; leave space for innovation in new schools; and create much more powerful incentives for excellence.
The report, prepared by Public Impact for The Mind Trust, outlines a comprehensive plan for transforming Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) by shrinking and redefining the role of the central office, and redirecting responsibility and tens of millions of dollars in funding for services from the central office to schools. The plan also describes how IPS can create the conditions needed to support and grow successful schools, including talent development, new school incubation, universal Pre-K, and extensive autonomy at the school level over curriculum, staffing, budget, and other key decisions. The report concludes that mayoral accountability offers the best option for IPS to realize the vision set out in this bold plan.
In a two-part policy report, Partnership for Learning partnered with Public Impact to assess the state of school finance in Washington and explore the benefits student-based budgeting (SBB) could have for the state. Part one analyzes how Washington currently allocates funding, explains how the current funding model falls short, and describes how SBB would be a better alternative. Part two includes an extensive analysis of the state’s most recent school finance data and the impact an SBB model could have on district-level funding. The site also includes a simulator that allows users to develop their own SBB formula.
[pdf] Charter incubation is the process of intentionally building the supply of high-quality schools and charter management organizations by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting promising leaders as they launch new charter schools. This white paper identifies and analyzes four critical focus areas for charter incubators: attracting and developing effective school or CMO leaders; partnering strategically to help leaders open and operate high-quality charter schools and CMOs; championing school leaders in the community; and coordinating advocacy to support new charter leaders. The authors distilled these four areas from research and discussions with members of the organization now known as Education Cities, an initiative of Indianapolis-based education reform organization The Mind Trust. The white paper discusses these focus areas and presents innovative responses by Education Cities members to the challenges of charter incubation in each area. This white paper is part of a three-piece series continuing the discussion from a National Charter School Resource Center / U.S. Department of Education conference exploring emerging city-based movements that embrace high-quality charters as an integral component of their reform strategy. On September 21, 2011, Joe Ableidinger joined Ethan Gray, vice president of The Mind Trust and director of Education Cities, to offer a webinar based on the white paper, Expanding the Supply of High-Quality Charter Schools: Innovations in Incubation, available through the National Charter School Resource Center at http://www.charterschoolcenter.org/webinar/expanding-supply-high-quality-charter-schools-innovations-incubation.
This webinar explores charter school incubation, a promising strategy for intentionally accelerating the growth of high-quality charter schools by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting promising leaders as they launch new schools. Presenters discuss the need for incubation, the promise of incubation, and some of the early evidence from established incubators. They introduce the organization now known as Education Cities, an initiative of Indianapolis-based education reform organization The Mind Trust, and discuss the work that Education Cities members have been doing to incubate new high-quality charter schools. The webinar then details four critical focus areas for charter incubators as described in the companion white paper, Incubating High-Quality Charter Schools: Innovations in City-Based Organizations, and innovative approaches taken by Education Cities members in each focus area. Finally, presenters discuss five major policies that policymakers can address to support charter incubation, and how changes in these areas would help incubators.
Policy Research and Development for 50CAN
Public Impact is leading policy research and development to help 50CAN, the 50-state Campaign for Achievement Now, close America’s achievement gaps by building public support for proven models of effective public education. With 50CAN’s first two state affiliates, RI-CAN and MinnCAN, our team is conducting policy research and advising on topics such as educator evaluations, charter school facilities financing, alternative certification, and early learning programs. With the 50CAN team, we are also crafting issue briefs and other publications to explore best practice and research on each reform topic and help build support for change.
In 2009, a bi-partisan group of urban and suburban municipal leaders asked Public Impact to study Rhode Island’s K-12 funding system. In collaboration with Martin West, assistant professor in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Public Impact found the state’s current system to be inequitable and too inflexible to meet the state’s evolving needs. The report calls for a new finance policy based on student need and outlines four principles to reform education finance in the Ocean State.
[pdf] A small number of highly-successful entrepreneurial ventures in education have begun to transform schools with innovative solutions that have extraordinary potential to serve students more efficiently and effectively. Yet federal, state and local policies often hinder these types of innovations. This report, written by Julie Kowal and Bryan C. Hassel and jointly released by Public Impact, the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for American Progress, and New Profit Inc., offers politically viable solutions to address these barriers. Read more…
The Tab: How Connecticut Can Fix its Dysfunctional Education Spending System to Reward Success, Incentivize Choice and Boost Student Achievement
In this report for Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), Public Impact authors Bryan C. Hassel and Daniela Doyle trace Connecticut’s current flow of public school funding and recommend a reformed system that would create strong incentives to boost student achievement. As ConnCAN summarizes in its November 2009 release of the report, The Tab “offers a detailed reform plan grounded in three fundamental changes: 1) Revamp the state’s funding formula so that money follows children based on their needs, 2) Shine a bright light on education finance by creating a comprehensive and easily accessible data system on school funding, and 3) Remove fiscal barriers that stand in the way of creating great schools for everyone.”
Youth at High Risk of Disconnection: A data update of Michael Wald and Tia Martinez’s Connected by 25: Improving the Life Chances of the Country’s Most Vulnerable 14-24 Year Olds
Nearly every young adult who experiences long-term disconnection—from work, school, and community—falls into one or more of the following groups before age 19: teen in foster care, juvenile justice involved, teen mother, or high school dropout. This report, developed by Jacob Rosch, Dana Brinson and Bryan Hassel for the education program at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is an update of Michael Wald and Tia Martinez’s 2003 Connected by 25 research. This data update provides the most-recent available estimates of these four teen populations and shares additional information about the changes in these populations, possible trends for the future, and the impact of these changes on the services designed to intervene with and support these vulnerable youth.