Promise to Practice: New Report Provides Insights into School Improvement
November 29, 2018

As states begin implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Collaborative for Student Success, in partnership with HCM Strategists, recently released findings from an independent peer analysis of state school improvement plans. Twenty-five experts from the national, state, and local level participated in analyzing the progress states have made towards implementing plans to improve struggling schools.

The new report, Check State Plans: Promise to Practice, reviewed seventeen states (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and Tennessee) with the most publicly available information.

Three distinct approaches to school improvement emerged as part of the analysis:

  1. The State Leadership Approach — These states outlined an explicit and coherent vision for school improvement (LA, MA, NM, TN).
  2. The Partnership Approach — These states view themselves as partners with districts, and try to walk the line between coach and referee (CT, ID, MN, ND, NV).
  3. The District Leadership Approach — These states expect district leaders to take primary responsibility for school improvement (AZ, CO, GA, FL, IL, IN, NY, TX).

Notably, the report identifies four troubling trends:

  1. Equity is not prioritized in half the states.
  2. Many states are not taking their new oversight role seriously.
  3. It will be hard to tell what’s working.
  4. A strong sustainability plan is missing from all but one of the states reviewed.

Promise to Practice is a follow-up to last year’s peer review of state accountability plans conducted by the Collaborative and Bellwether Education Partners, which won PIE Network’s Most Actionable Research Eddie! Award.

Read the full report here.

Dale Chu

Dale is a consultant for the PIE Network and president at DC Strategies

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