This report documents how education “quarterbacks” (formerly known as harbormasters) have supported governance reform in three cities, and why and how they were effective. This exploration of why districts need governance reform and how to catalyze and implement it focuses on the following questions: (1) Why did the education quarterbacks in these cities take the steps they did? (2) How did those actions ultimately lead to and support a new governance structure? (3) What lessons can other city-based education organizations take from their pioneering experiences? The report identifies eight actions consistently observed among the three profiled quarterbacks: The Mind Trust (Indianapolis), Empower Schools (Springfield), and New Schools for New Orleans. Although the conditions, people, and steps are specific to each city, all three education quarterbacks performed most, if not all, of these actions to catalyze governance reform and support successful implementation.
Under the previous iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, No Child Left Behind, states could mostly “paint by number,” but ESSA has given states an opportunity to think fresh about the plans they are creating. In “Painting the ESSA Canvas: Four Ideas for States to Think Big on Educator Quality,” New America interviewed leaders from four organizations to describe clear, actionable ideas for states who are ready to think big and use ESSA Title II-A funds strategically. New America’s interviews each dig into one of four areas: 1) educator preparation; 2) educator recruitment and retention; 3) educator evaluation and support systems; and 4) comprehensive professional learning systems. Public Impact’s Bryan Hassel and Stephanie Dean are featured in the interview on educator recruitment and retention.
In one of the nation’s largest school districts, Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, far too many students—especially particularly poor and minority students—lack access to a high-quality school. But recent improvements to the state’s charter policy create an opening for Clark County to use charter schools to transform educational options for all students, especially those who need them most. This report for Opportunity 180 shows why Clark County needs high-quality school options: A largely middling spectrum of school options tends to better serve students in wealthier neighborhoods, while poor and minority students in “quality school deserts” have fewer and poorer options. This report outlines what students and residents have to gain by improving school quality and lays out the steps policymakers and practitioners can take to overcome resource challenges that impede the growth of high-quality charters. As the report concludes, Clark County will need to create the will that drives ongoing commitment to change policies, then provide the resources needed to grow high-quality charter schools and transform education for all students.
Opportunity Culture roles have attracted great teachers across the country, producing strong recruiting results for schools of all kinds. But having great roles is not enough. Early, active recruitment and strong communications are essential to reach great candidates—both within a district and from elsewhere—and encourage them to apply for Opportunity Culture roles. Some Opportunity Culture schools begin active recruitment the prior fall, rather than waiting until spring or summer. This 4-page toolkit walks districts through the key recruiting steps. Each step includes actions and linked tools. Page 4 summarizes all the actions into one linked checklist.