How School Districts Could Be Laboratories of Improvement

May 30, 2017

CEPR Faculty Director Thomas Kane coauthored the following Governing Magazine blog post on school improvement with Andrew Feldman.

There's a lot that state policymakers could be doing to find real solutions to education's pressing problems.

A lot of attention, at least in Washington, has focused on Betsy DeVos, President Trump's secretary of education. Her advocacy for private-school vouchers is certainly controversial, but her ability as secretary to advance that agenda is actually quite limited. That's because Congress stripped the Department of Education of much of its power in 2015 when it replaced the No Child Left Behind law with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), returning that authority to the states.

That shift raises the question: Will states use their new authority to improve academic achievement, particularly in high-poverty urban and rural areas? The answer will affect public education much more than anything DeVos will do. State policymakers who are ready to rise to the challenge should do three things.


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