Research & Resources

Policy Briefs


Policy Briefs report on research, policy initiatives, and professional knowledge that supports sound decision-making and policy formation by government bodies and school district leaders.   These briefs present information in a non-technical manner that encourages research-based policy discussion and development by professional educators and the public.

Tackling Equity in Disciplinary Practices

Olayinka Alege & J. Howard Johnston

Zero tolerance discipline policies were adopted in US schools in 1994 after federal legislation required states to expel students for bringing firearms to school or face losing federal funding. These policies were intended to discourage violence, drug use and other dangerous behaviors by enacting strict consequences, but policies intended to make schools safer actually paved the way for schools to punish students for other, relatively minor infractions, such as using profanity, disrespect and non-compliance.

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Accountability Policies and Educator Wellbeing

Joseph Latimer, Nathaniel von der Embse, William Black

The use of test-based accountability policies has led to a range of consequences, both positive and negative, for educators. Given the clear link with educator wellbeing, school leaders and policy makers need to consider how to support educators within a test-based accountability environment. 

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Equity, Effectiveness, and Control: The Every Student Succeeds Act and State Approaches to Defining School Turnaround

 William Black and Adam Rea

Given the enormously disproportionate percentage of low income and students of color attending schools in TSI, CSI, and MRI status, it can be argued that state-level plans for turnaround interventions represent a de facto state level policy lever for more equitable outcomes. While ESSA was designed to provide greater flexibility to states, and state-level and contextually sensitive flexibility is desirable, our analysis reveals a significant and wide variation in categorical definitions and identification of turnaround schools.

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Equity, Effectiveness, and Control: The Every Student Succeeds Act and State Approaches to Governing School Turnaround

Adam Rea and Bill Black

To understand state approaches to governing school turnaround, we conducted a content analysis of the accepted 52 plans (50 states plus Washington D.C and Puerto Rico, which have their own boards of education). We focused on content related to three intervention categories as defined by ESSA (2015): Targeted Support and Interventions (TSI), Comprehensive Support and Interventions (CSI) and More Rigorous Interventions (MRI). We then studied secondary sources that analyzed and categorized the approved plans. We finally created our own data table with 25 categories of data after using our own inductive analysis combined with secondary sources to create a framework to categorize state approaches to governing school turnaround. we studied 52 state plans submitted and approved under ESSA.

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