Resource Library: Policy and Partnerships


Community Engagement

Partners in Education: SEDL and the Dept. of Education, 2013

Engaging parents and families in education is undeniably important, but barriers still exist in forging and strengthening the connections between schools and the communities around them. This paper proposes a dual-capacity building framework in order to increase family-school partnerships and walks through the main components of the framework, as well as case studies showing the model in action.



Supporting the Education Pipeline: Ready by 21, 2011

Involving businesses can help better align educational goals to fit the needs of labor markets. Furthermore, businesses can be instrumental in providing supports such as serving as strong advocates, fundraisers, mentors and change agents to the network of out-of school supports that need to be in place for successful schooling. More than not, these supports are lacking in low income and urban areas. To help fill this void this paper presents a toolkit for community-based organizations to engage the private sector in educational reform.  




Data & Data Use

PA High Schools Report:Alliance for Excellent Education,2013

State cards of Alliance of Excellent Education provide a statistical snapshot of high schools for each state in the nation and the District of Columbia. The cards include economic information, data on high school graduation and college completion rates, academic achievement, and states’ progress in building a longitudinal data system. Where applicable, statewide numbers are compared to the national average and include national rankings.





Toolkit for Effective Data Use: Strategic Data Project,2013

The SDP Toolkit for Effective Data Use is a resource that the Strategic Data Project (SDP) has developed to help data strategists in education learn to lead and effect change through data. We understand that collecting “silo-ed” data of varying quality, cleaning that data, and transforming that data into a decision-making tool can be a daunting process. Our toolkit will empower you to more effectively collect and analyze data that reveal key trends in your agency



Resource Mapping Summary Report - Denver Public Schools: Education Resource Strategies,2012

This report examines the financial behaviors of Denver Public Schools to provide a model of how schools can allocate resources more effectively. Overall Denver spent more on operating expenses and instruction, less on operations and maintenance compared to other urban districts. They were also more transparent and equitable with school size as the largest driver in spending per pupil differences. 




Education as a Data-Driven Enterprise: Data Quality Campaign, 2011

When used effectively, data can improve system performance, impact student outcomes, and increase efficiency and transparency. Additionally, new compliance and accountability standards have increased the need for data. With this in mind, the Data Quality campaign developed an outline of ten essential elements to help states implement longitudinal data systems to increase effectiveness and to meet accountability standards. 



Pennsylvania State Report Card 2010-2011: PA Department of Education,2011

Contains state level data on attendance and graduation rates, teacher qualification, and performance on state exams, AYP, and NAEP data and disaggregates data to allow for comparisons by student demographics.







Economics of Education

Return on Educational Investment: a district-by-district evaluation of U.S. educational productivity:Center for American Progress,2011

This report is the culmination of a yearlong effort to study the efficiency of the nation’s public education system and includes the first-ever attempt to evaluate the productivity of almost every major school district in the country. In the business world, the notion of productivity describes the benefit received in exchange for effort or money expended. Our project measures the academic achievement a school district produces relative to its educational spending, while controlling for factors outside a district’s control, such as cost of living and students in poverty.


The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings:Center on Education and the Workforce,2011

Examines lifetime earnings by educational attainment, occupation, age, gender, and race/ethnicity; variations in earnings at the same degree level by occupation and in the same occupation by degree level; and top-earning occupations by degree level.




Unequal Resource Distribution in Philadelphia Public Schools: Action United, 2010

This report aims to describe and quantify the inequities of funding in the Philadelphia Public School District through focusing on the placement of inexperienced versus experienced teachers, based on the idea that less experienced teachers cost less. Overall, highest poverty schools also had the highest number of inexperienced teachers. Some solutions to solve these inequities include increasing the transparency of the budget process, creating supports for inexperienced teachers and an increased focus on teacher retention.



What's Happening in Washington? A Federal Education Policy Update: Alliance for Excellent Education, 2013

The Alliance for Excellent Education held a webinar that provided an update on what’s happening with education policy in Washington, DC in 2013, as well as what’s likely to get done and what’s likely to linger throughout the year.







Parent/Family Engagement

The Impact of Family Involvement on the Education of Children Ages 3 to 8: MDRC, 2013

This report summarizes research conducted primarily over the past 10 years on how families’ involvement in children’s learning and development through activities at home and at school affects the literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional skills of children ages 3 to 8. A total of 95 studies of family involvement are reviewed. These include both descriptive, nonintervention studies of the actions families take at home and at school and intervention studies of practices that guide families to conduct activities that strengthen young children’s literacy and math learning. 


New Visions for Public Schools-Using Data to Engage Families: Harvard Family Research Project,2010

The U. S. Department of Education has adopted using data for school improvement as one of its major education reform priorities. However, as states, districts, and schools develop new approaches to track academic progress, both accessing and understanding data are often out of reach for average parents. While school leaders and teachers have begun to share and analyze student data, parents are too often left out of the conversation.



Raising Their Voices: Civic Enterprises,2010

High dropout rates continue to be a silent epidemic afflicting our nation’s schools. Although some measurable progress is being made in some school districts and states to raise high school graduation rates, and federal, state, and local policies and practices are changing to meet the dropout challenge, the nation’s progress is too slow and the individual, social, and economic costs continue to mount.




School Leadership

First Year Principals in Urban School Districts: How Actions and Working Conditions Relate to Outcomes:RAND, 2012

In an examination of the actions and perceived working conditions for first year principals in urban schools researchers found that there was no strong relationship between the principals reported future plans or time allocation and student achievement or retention. Instead, across districts, teacher capacity displayed the strongest relationship to student achievement. 






Meeting the Challenge: Alliance For An Excellent Education, 2011

Recent research on the role of school leaders in increasing graduation requirements while maintaining healthy graduation rates has found that effective leadership may be one of the most important factors in successfully reaching these goals. Current leadership development programs are not aligned with school and districts needs and are not producing enough effective superintendents and principals.  





Transforming Schools

Reforming Underperforming High Schools:MDRC,2013

Urban high schools are in trouble — high dropout rates, low student academic achievement, and graduates who are unprepared for college are just some of the disappointing indicators. However, recent research points to a select number of approaches to improving student outcomes and reforming underperforming schools — from particular ways of creating new schools to specific strategies for strengthening existing schools through whole-school reform to making school more relevant to the world of work.


The 20 Non-Negotiable Characteristics of Higher Performing School Systems:National Center for Educational Achievement,2011

What lessons can we learn from schools and school systems that prepare higher percentages of students for college and careers? ACT’s National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA) identifies higher performing schools–schools that have greater success at growing students towards college and

career readiness than their comparable schools–and studies their practices. NCEA’s research extends across 20 states, 300 districts, and over 550 school systems.



The Politics of School Reform: A Broader and Bolder Approach To Newark:Noguera & Wells,2011

The authors of this article use a case study of the Newark Bolder and Bolder Approach to promote the whole school approach to school reform. In examining past reform experiences, they assert that previous attempts have failed because they have been decontextualized from environmental factors. The Bolder and Bolder Approach works to correct this by developing key components designed to be responsive to the unique environment it works within.



Transforming the High School Experience: How New York City's New Small Schools Are Boosting Student Achievement and Graduation Rates:Bloom, Thompson & Unterman,2010 

Since 2002, New York City has closed more than 20 underperforming public high schools, opened more than 200 new secondary schools, and introduced a centralized high school admissions process in which approximately 80,000 students a year indicate their school preferences from a wide-ranging choice of programs. At the heart of these reforms lie 123 new “small schools of choice” (SSCs).


Whole-School Reform: Transforming the Nation's Low-Performing High Schools: Alliance For An Excellent Education, 2009

The federal government has a rich history of experimenting with various school reform options. The current whole school reform approach, as laid out in the Comprehensive School Reform Program, has been more successful than the pullout approach or the targeted impact approach tried in the past. Included in the report is an outline of the key components of the whole school reform program that have made it so successful.