Getting From Here to There: The Problem of Change at Scale

This vision of a more equitable system addresses the key shortcomings of past and current efforts to reduce achievement and opportunity gaps. It provides a framework to promote and extend system coherence, embeds improvement efforts in specific systemic contexts, balances whole system change with targeted interventions for underserved and struggling students, and recognizes the importance of connecting schools with other organizations and agencies affecting children and their families.

But envisioning what might be a more effective system is one thing; moving in this direction and doing it at scale is something else. For this discussion we incorporate an observation from decades of implementation research: Effecting change requires a context-appropriate balance of pressure and support—pressure to engender action and support to increase its effectiveness (McLaughlin 1987). This observation about organizational and system-level change is consistent with theory and research on individual performance, which is generally defined as an interactive function of individual motivation, ability, and situation (Rowan 1996).

We see three potential sources of pressure and support to move educational systems in the direction we have suggested: governmental and administrative policy at the federal, state, and local levels; professional networks and norms; and community and stakeholder constituencies.

Designing Governmental Policy to Motivate and Support Improvement and Equity

Governmental and administrative policy at the federal, state, and local levels has been the predominant source of external pressure and support for educational change in the U.S.—particularly with regard to equalizing opportunities for poor students, students of color, and English learners. Over the past six decades, this source has generally become more centralized, with states providing an increased portion of school funding (and demanding greater accountability for how those funds are spent) and the federal government taking more of a role in not only enforcing equality but also influencing the core direction of schooling. With respect to the balance between pressure and support, the scales at these two levels have recently tipped toward pressure and compliance, though requirements are often tied to categorical funding streams that wear the guise of inducements and fiscal support rather than blanket mandates.

We have noted earlier how this emphasis on compliance can actually thwart improvement and lead to unintended negative consequences for underserved students, even when they are the intended beneficiaries. In addition, because policy is made at all levels of the system, schools are frequently confronted with a panoply of conflicting rules, overlapping programs, and fragmented directions that divert attention and prevent real change.

To move toward a system that facilitates continuous improvement where it matters most—in the schools—will require a reconceptualization of the roles of the three levels of government and a rebalancing of emphasis between pressure and support, with greater attention going to providing long-term support for improvement than has been the case in recent years. At the core of this reconceptualization are the twin principles of (a) common commitment at all levels to the goals of equal opportunity, achievement, and attainment, and (b) governmental restraint and focus to achieve these goals. By restraint we mean that each level of government must fully consider the likely tradeoffs and potential unintended consequences before it creates new rules, strong incentives, and/or legislation based on ideology, politics, or even some evidence of effectiveness. The question must be, will the proposed action actually motivate and support greater equity and higher quality, or will it disrupt ongoing improvement processes and stress the schools and the teachers? [1]

A first step for all levels of government on the road to help schools and districts to achieve the improvement and equal opportunity vision is to model the ideas of continuous improvement within their own operations and to reach out to create more collaborative environments with other levels of government and with other sectors that influence the quality and equality of educational opportunity. This will not be an easy task for bureaucracies that have been stove-piped and focused on regulating their clients rather than supporting them in their improvement efforts, but there are examples of some states that have been moving in this direction. At the federal level, the task will be even harder, given the current level of political polarization.

Assuming that reorienting the federal and state systems toward improvement is possible, we suggest below that each level of government has a distinct and important role to play in motivating and supporting movement toward both high-quality systems and equal opportunity.

Federal Role and Policy

As the 10th Amendment to the Constitution implies, the basic responsibilities and practices of delivering education are left to the states and districts. And, as the 14th Amendment provides, the federal government has a responsibility to protect and support when needed those who require assistance to receive equal opportunity.

Following from these constitutional provisions, a simple test for suggesting what the federal government should—and should not—do in K-12 education is to apply two criteria:

• Does the activity protect or directly support the U.S. constitutional and legislated rights of schoolchildren to receive equal opportunity to a high quality education?

• Does the activity apply to the entire nation and is it more efficiently and effectively delivered by the federal government than it would be by states and districts?

Implementing these criteria would reduce the current portfolio of the U.S. Department of Education and clarify its role around a more highly focused set of responsibilities. The reasons for such a reduction include the great diversity of U.S. students and school environments; the complexity of effective teaching and school management; and the all too real danger of ideology, politics, and regulatory zeal overriding useful evidence within administrations and the Congress. We suggest instead a federal role that works to ensure equity and provides resources but eschews the one-size-fits-all prescription of education practice to states, districts, and schools. This view of the federal role calls for increasing the resources and capacities for support of the programs and policies that directly influence equal educational opportunity.

The activities of our proposed new role may be organized into four groups: protecting and supporting the rights of all students to equal educational opportunity; ensuring equal opportunity for specific groups of students protected under federal law; providing financial resources to equalize educational opportunity for all students; and supporting research, innovation, data about the health of the system and resources for improvement.

Protecting and Supporting the Rights of All Students to Equal Opportunity

The U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education has the critical function of enforcing civil rights laws affecting educational opportunity—such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the various desegregation decisions starting with Brown v. Board, Title IX, and Section 504 of the Disabilities Act. To achieve its mission, OCR balances the roles of enforcer/regulator with providing support to districts and schools to promote greater equity. Both approaches—reflecting the “pressure and support” functions mentioned above—are now part of the office's repertoire. As the climate of education reform changes to improvement rather than adherence to regulations, we suggest greater emphasis be placed on the support approach. This change in direction might require more resources. [2]

Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Students Protected Under Federal Law

Federal programs to support specifically protected groups of students include the Education for all Handicapped Act (EHA); Title III of ESEA, which supports the efforts to improve the teaching and learning of students whose native language is not English [3]; and the two programs for Native Americans, one in the Department of Education and the other in the Department of the Interior. [4] These programs differ dramatically in size, delivery strategy, and level of financial appropriation. Unfortunately, because legislative and regulatory environments tend to change slowly and protect vested interests, the programs do not necessarily reflect our new understanding of student learning and the opportunities that have appeared because of new emphases on innovation and strategies for improvement. An important step for each might be to have outside groups of experts and stakeholders carry out thorough and sustained (five-year) studies on how well these programs are working and to recommend changes.

Eliminating Resource Inequities—Title I and New Strategies

Title I of ESEA provides funds to high-poverty schools beyond the base of resources provided by state and local funding. The highest poverty schools receive funds to improve the entire school (“school-wide” schools). Less-high-poverty schools receive funds on the basis of number of students on free and reduced price lunch and then use these funds to help low-achieving students (targeted assistance schools). Title I is the best known and largest of the programs that serve the goal of equal opportunity. It has been the object of much political attention, partly because it provides a large amount of money targeted to poor and low-scoring students and partly because the Title I law carries requirements that all states must have academic standards and assessments and administer a federal accountability system to meet the requirements for receiving Title I funds. We propose to curtail the federal accountability provisions in the current version of Title I (NCLB) to include only two elements: reporting of disaggregated results by subgroups, which would continue to be a gauge of equality of opportunity, and a requirement that each state develop a system of accountability appropriate to its context that includes measures to motivate and support improvement and a reduction of achievement, attainment, and opportunity gaps.

The core and historical purpose of Title I would remain. The funds for Title I should be increased and more highly targeted toward high-poverty schools than they are now (over half the schools and almost all of the districts in the nation receive Title I funds), and many of the legislative and regulatory requirements on the specific uses of the funds should be eliminated. The comparability and supplement-notsupplant provisions should be maintained. In fact, in high-poverty schools, Title I should be able to operate as an accelerator of school reform that supports continuous improvement and interventions targeted to ameliorate specific student challenges as they journey through the school.

Even though Title I is a large program, however, it does not come even close to closing the finance equality gap. Any independent observer of educational opportunity in the U.S. would see three glaring and generally ignored sources of gross disparities of resources that favor the well-to-do in our nation. In the initial section of this chapter we pointed out the great differences in wealth and in the resources available to students among the states, among districts within states, and among schools within districts; as a nation, we tend to turn a blind eye toward these disparities. The only entity available to help reduce state differences in resources for public education is the federal government. Great variation of resources among districts within states would logically be a problem to be solved by states; again logically, the within-district, among-schools disparities would be remedied by the districts. However, in this section of the paper we opt to address all three levels of resource inequality. Our reason is that the federal government could play a substantial role in accomplishing progress toward equality in all three of the areas: among states, within states, and within districts. This focus would call for new activities and resources from the Department of Education.

A serious move toward equalizing resources among states, controlling for effort and wealth, would accelerate equal opportunity across the nation for many lowincome students of all races. A goal might be to bring all states to at least the 50th percentile of the current average per-pupil expenditure among states by 2020. This would require new resources from the federal government, which should be partially matched by states. Particularly in the South, many states lack the financial resources and infrastructure to provide the money to support high quality and effective K-12 schools for all of their schoolchildren. [5]

Meeting the within-state (among district) variation in resource allocation is a somewhat different problem. Attaining equalization among districts should be part of the states' commitment to equal opportunity. Here the federal government might figure out how to motivate state efforts to adopt something like a weighted pupil formula.

The third leg of this fiscal equity stool would be to address within-district inequalities among schools. Here the federal government might take an immediate and powerful step. This approach would require a subtle but significant change to the comparability provision in Title I of the ESEA, a provision that requires the resources available to the Title I schools within a district to be comparable on average with the resources available to non-Title I schools. In the current provision, the resources are defined as “services,” such as number of teachers. Because schools with large populations of students from low-income families often have younger and less experienced teachers (due to teachers moving to other schools and to teacher turnover), the total amount paid to teachers, and thus the total expenditures in these schools, are often less than in schools with more affluent populations. We suggest that the comparability provision should be changed to require districts to equalize actual expenditures per pupil instead of “services.” A study by the Department of Education found that such a change in regulation could “bring a substantial increase in funding for low-spending, high-need schools” (Stullich 2011, 1). These extra funds would be used to improve the quality of the school, for example, by lowering class size or having reading specialists or counselors.

We are not naïve about the possibilities of enacting any of these three finance proposals. In a Congress where tax cuts are dominant, the idea of investing in the education of students in states other than the congressman's own state does not seem likely to find many advocates. And, even the third proposal, to alter the comparability provision in Title I, has been proposed many times and rejected, with some major education groups leading the opposition. Yet, these three actions, by themselves, would alter the calculus of inequality in the country. They would create huge new opportunities for millions of children and could even engender trust in the public that the rhetoric of equal opportunity is real.

Supporting Research, Innovation, and Data for Improvement

The Department of Education should also continue to carry out research and data collection and analysis, focused on improving teaching and learning and on innovation in areas such as technology. As a goal, the department's research efforts should move more toward theoretically driven efforts that carefully aggregate knowledge to increase our understanding of key issues in developing an effective education system for all students. The research results and data from government-funded research should all be as openly available as possible through a Creative Commons license to allow all researchers access to the new knowledge and for those interested to be able to use the data to replicate and possibly illuminate the original results. [6] Explorations into innovative ways of using new knowledge and opportunities made possible with technology should be a significant second focus of the research. A third area of activity involves the collection and analysis of data on the status of the system, which has been a function of the department since its original instantiation in 1867. Such data collection requires constant attention and improvement to provide the best possible information and data for researchers, policy makers, and the public to use.

This discussion of a more limited and focused role of the federal government implies a need to eliminate or consolidate a substantial number of current federal programs while refocusing others. We believe that such a consolidation should focus on two purposes. The first would be to support overall continuous improvement strategies in districts and schools; the second would be to kick-start withindistrict and among-district equalization strategies.

Role of State Governments to Ensure Quality and Opportunity

The basic roles of the states, granted to them under the 10th Amendment and built into their state constitutions and legislation, include responsibilities for all aspects of the education system from governance to finance to curriculum to supporting, enhancing, and monitoring quality education for all public school students in the state. [7]

In general, states delegate many of their responsibilities to local districts through legislation and their constitutions. They maintain full control of the responsibilities to actively build and monitor a legislative and regulatory framework that guides the districts as they implement much of the remainder of the responsibilities. States are responsible for decisions about common statewide content and performance standards, assessments, accountability, data collection requirements, and regulations about certifying and training teachers. They also manage and provide oversight for federal and state categorical programs. The financing of public education is generally shared, but state legislation or constitutions determine the framework for the finance system. Local districts manage the fundamental tasks of teaching and exercising the day-to-day responsibilities for educating the youth.

An unfortunate fact is that states and local governments and schools have implicitly or explicitly discriminated against low-income individuals and those of color in schools for well over a century. We have documented gaps between rich and poor schools and districts in finance, in prepared teachers, and in other materials in schools that provide clear evidence of these practices.

In order to move resolutely toward the goal of equal opportunity for all, states must develop, maintain and improve well-functioning education systems that support continuous improvement and high quality teaching and learning for all schools and students throughout the state. If the system is dysfunctional, the least advantaged among us will suffer the greatest.

We suggest three broad roles for the state in motivating and supporting educational quality and opportunity for all students:

• Establish a vision and set of priorities for educational improvement in the state— that is, to set the direction

• Provide resources and infrastructure to support continuous improvement toward this vision

• Establish a fair accountability system that stimulates action and tracks progress—particularly progress towards equity

Setting the Direction: State Standards and Priorities

We have already noted that robust and challenging standards for what students should know and be able to do can serve to define equity goals and guide continuous improvement toward those goals. Adoption and support for district implementation of new generation standards and assessments and establishing aligned policies to help guide curriculum development, educator training and accountability is an important role for states. As states transition to new standards and assessments and work to make the necessary changes in other parts of the system, it is especially crucial for them to pay attention to low-income districts, schools, and regions of the state that have fewer resources than others to carry out implementation. Analysis of statewide data can help states set priorities for moving forward to ensure that all students have access to the standards.

But standards and priorities are only one step toward setting direction for the state. Equally important is ensuring consistency in the signals to local districts and schools through consistent leadership and sustained commitment to improvement. This has been and continues to be a major challenge in the majority of states. All too often, state leaders do not have a deep understanding of the nature of the problems; state bureaucracies are locked into patterns that are directive and punitive rather than supportive; and lobby groups work to maintain current practices, often by guiding the votes of legislators and the behavior of the administrators. These practices will not change quickly, but they can be ameliorated over time. Though not yet fully successful, leaders in states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas, and now California have made substantial progress. The key is sustaining the work over time. Oneor two-term leadership is not enough; change of the sort we describe here takes a decade or more to embed itself into the fabric of the system. The task is not easy—the commitment to sustain a policy direction that is based on continuous improvement and equal opportunity is difficult to keep up without succumbing to the siren call of “magic bullets.” But it is necessary. And we suspect that strategic mobilization within the profession and among community stakeholders will be necessary to reach a common vision and ensure that state governments actually stay the course (see below).

Providing Resources and Infrastructure to Support Continuous Improvement and Equity

Standards and commitments will, of course, be meaningless without action to back them up. One of the most important roles for states to play is to provide the resources and build the infrastructure necessary to support local capacity for improvement and equity. We highlight three arenas in which state resources and infrastructure are most important: human capital, finance, and data.

A Strong Professional Workforce

Many states face serious human capital issues that hold back improvement and perpetuate inequity. These include teacher shortages, inadequate pre-service training, limited capacity of current teachers for teaching the new content or teaching all students, and a limited supply of well-trained principals. Moreover, the challenge of creating and maintaining a continuous improvement environment and implementing a thoughtful intervention system requires changes in the responsibilities of educators throughout the system. Education systems cannot provide high-quality schooling for all students without high-quality education professionals. The costs of building professional capacity may seem high, but the cost for not doing so is far higher.

States are in a critical position to ensure all students have access to high quality and effective school personnel. A first step is to support the recruitment of talented and interested people to enter the profession. Currently many young people do not see teaching as a desirable option because of a political atmosphere that seems to target teachers, relatively low pay, perceived job insecurity due to uncertain budgets and high-stakes accountability, and the poor reputation of teacher training programs. [8] State political leaders can join with university presidents and others to use the bully pulpit and incentives to upgrade the quality of pre-service training and increase the attractiveness of teaching.

A second step is to create the conditions for teachers and principals to grow in their jobs. High-quality mentoring in the first two years shows solid effects, and we have learned much in the past two decades about designing effective ongoing professional learning. A substantial new body of evidence, for example, indicates that both human and social capital are critical to the development of high-quality teachers and schools (Hargreaves and Fullan 2012). States can provide support to build a strong statewide infrastructure for professional development, including the creation of networks among teachers, schools, and districts. This is particularly important for low capacity and isolated regions of the state to ensure equity.

Finally, a critical role for the state is to ensure equitable access for all children to high-quality teachers. Specific tenure and seniority provisions in some state laws may exacerbate the low quality and ongoing churn of educators in schools and districts serving high needs students. The recent Vergara lawsuit in California was predicated on the idea that there is a set of laws and practices that systematically ensure that poor children, on average, have the least qualified and experienced teachers. [9] Whatever one's position is on the lawsuit per se, that the state has a role in ensuring equitable distribution of high-quality teachers should be undeniable. A first step would be to review potential disparate impact of policies currently in place and to improve working conditions in high-poverty schools.

The implications of not meeting these challenges will fall most heavily on the students most in need. The well-to-do communities of the nation will not suffer from the failures to meet these human capital challenges; they will get the first choices in a tight teacher market. It is the children in the central cities, the small, poor rural communities, and in other places where there are large populations of the lowincome families that will suffer.

Adequate and Fair Funding

We have already suggested something concrete the state governments might do to ensure finance equality across the districts state—legislate and implement a weighted pupil formula or an equivalent approach. [10] This action can be taken in the current environment, as demonstrated by California. It will require new revenue and time, but as we suggested earlier, the change could be spread over time and partially supported by the federal government. States should also seek ways to stimulate within-district equalization. Each of these actions would very positively alter the current unequal resource allocation problems in many states.

A fair and equitable finance system also must face the challenges of providing extra support for the groups of high-risk students that do not fit into the categories of the protected because of race or poverty. Special treatment is necessary for four additional groups of at-risk students that together may constitute up to 4–6 % of all of the nation's children in school: foster children (400,000 in the U.S.), children with incarcerated parents (2.7 million), homeless children (500,000 in any given year), and children/youth who suffer from a serious mental disorder (estimated four million nationally, many of whom are not served by special education). [11]

Effective Data Infrastructure

We have already considered the importance of data to continuous improvement; we believe the state is in the best position to ensure that the data infrastructure is sufficiently robust and adaptable. Beyond this the state must be able to point to examples of effective use of data as integral to continuous improvement and as offering a methodology for use throughout all of their districts and schools. This is particularly important in low-capacity regions and districts that cannot do all the needed data work on their own.

Establishing an Accountability System that Supports Improvement

We expect that in the next few years, the locus of education accountability will largely shift from the federal to the state governments. Although they have shared the responsibility in law, the federal government has dominated since NCLB was passed in 2002. Over the past 25 years, the concept of accountability has driven a lot of positive and negative activity in schools and districts. For much of this time, accountability has been a one-way street. Schools and teachers have been held accountable for performance goals set by the federal government and states have been required to meet these goals to avoid being penalized. Only in extreme situations did districts face consequences for failing to meet performance goals, and never for failing to provide sufficient resources or assistance to their low-performing schools. The idea of reciprocity was not part of the mix.

In reciprocal accountability, the entities that hold schools and teachers accountable and control the provision of resources should share in the responsibility for the quality of the practices and student outcomes. Few would argue this premise. Yet while we acknowledge and document that many schools that are predominantly poor and African-American or Hispanic do not receive even the same level of resources as schools of the well-to-do (much less the level of resources they need), we still hold them to the same standards as the largely well-to-do schools.

For a high-stakes assessment to be fair, all students should have equitable opportunities and resources (Messick 1989). Clear and understandable reviews of the resource quality of a school and district should be conducted regularly. States should review their internal frameworks for assessing quality to make reasoned judgments about the opportunities available in districts and schools. Performance and quality measures for schools and districts should be transparent and reported.

The discussions about accountability are almost all focused on the details: How many years of testing should there be? Should the goals be set for 3, 5, or 10 years? Should we require penalties? As the states take over the responsibility to design and manage their accountability system, state leaders should first step back and decide what they want to accomplish. If they want a valid and effective system, they first need to address the glaring issues of inequality. They might also establish goals as well as monitor and provide support to districts and schools that have trouble maintaining progress. Reasonable long-term state goals might be high-quality education for all and equal outcomes for all subgroups of students. An overall short-term goal would be steady progress on the quality and outcome indicators by schools, districts and the state.

District Responsibilities

Of all the levels of governance, local districts have the most direct influence on what happens in schools. They are responsible for recruiting, assigning and supporting teachers; setting instructional policy; ensuring appropriate and efficient management of schools; allocating resources; and establishing an infrastructure to support system learning and ensure equity. The approaches that districts take to accomplishing these tasks will vary depending on the students they serve and the conditions in which they operate. There are 13,500 public school districts and 95,000 schools in the United States. Almost two-thirds of districts have fewer than 1500 students.

Among this diverse population of local systems are varying capacities and challenges. Most small districts, for example, rely on regional or county offices of education to provide expertise about technology, teacher recruitment, special education, and other federal and state programs and policies. Traditionally the quality of reform implementation will depend on the capacity of the state and regional entities to reach out and provide support. Right now the support role of these organizations often conflicts with their regulatory responsibilities, which often take precedence. We suggest that the balance needs to shift more toward improvement and support at all levels, particularly the local level, where it is likely to make the most difference. If the responsibilities of the federal government and states shifted more toward improvement in the ways we have suggested, the local and regional organizations could focus more effectively on improvement as well. This would be beneficial both to smaller, lower-capacity districts and to larger systems with greater capacity that have often been thwarted in efforts to more effectively serve the students by fragmented, compliance-oriented state laws and agencies.

We see four main arenas in which district action can motivate and support both quality and equality. The first concerns districts' role in establishing a culture of continuous improvement focused on the success of all students. We have already described several systems that have demonstrated some success in this regard. These are systems that have established common goals and metrics to measure progress toward attaining those goals. Particularly important is that the metrics include information that allows system and school leaders to identify specific gaps and areas for improvement. Dashboards reflecting these multiple measures can allow district leaders to allocate attention and resources (including human, material, and intellectual resources) to address identified problems of practice. Providing support for cross-school and cross-functional collaboration and learning, in addition to establishing a culture of trust where failure is understood and used as an opportunity for growth, are also part and parcel of such a system.

A second arena in which districts can foster positive change is through the establishment of a systemic approach to equitable resource allocation based on student and school needs. There are various models for more effective within-district allocation, all of which rely on clear alignment between system goals and budgeting processes. Whatever budgeting system a district uses, monitoring the effectiveness of programs and strategies is crucial to ensure that resources flow to more effective strategies and less effective ones are pruned away or revised.

Of course, the district's most valuable resources are its people, particularly its teachers and administrators. Thus, establishing an effective human capital system that ensures quality and supports continuous learning is perhaps the district's most critical function. Although educator quality is a goal at all levels of the system, districts have particular roles to play at key junctures: recruitment, tenure decisions, and evaluation cycles. Because the pools from which districts and schools recruit staff are primarily local, some districts have even established relationships with local pre-service programs or established their own teacher residency and administrator training programs to ensure that those pools are filled with candidates likely to meet their needs. And once hiring decisions have been made, districts can do a great deal to provide structure, time, and support for coordinated learning within and across schools and to engage teachers and administrators as professionals in their own learning processes. In all these functions, as well as in negotiating contracts, building a strong and productive relationship with the unions is critical and generally beyond the capacity of individual schools.

A final role is to engage the broader public, manage the inevitable politics of American education at the local level, and connect schools and students with other child-related agencies and organizations that can help address students' broader needs. For many larger districts, these reforms would be carried out in intensely political environments. School boards are often steppingstones to higher elected office. Campaigns cost money that needs to be raised from donors. Local boards generally accept state law and regulation—but may greatly influence the implementation of the reforms. Unfortunately school boards in these cities routinely roll over their superintendents every three to five years and seem to be always on the outlook for “magic bullets” that will assuredly and easily raise student achievement. Stability, focus, adaptation, and a continuous strategy and commitment to meeting the needs of all students are a recipe that is only attractive when your constituency is seen to be benefiting.

  • [1] For example, when Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, it put in place a set of accountability provisions that no state could feasibly achieve (primarily that 100 % of all students would be proficient on the state standards-aligned assessments by 2014). The Obama administration has provided waivers from many of these provisions, thus giving states an alternative to designating all of their schools as failing. But the department predicated these waivers on state actions—such as using student test scores to evaluate teachers—that were not relevant to the substance and purpose of the waiver.
  • [2] See OCR website at
  • [3] Title III of ESEA, intended to support ELLs, should be substantially modified and retained as a symbol and a vehicle for capacity building and innovation. The past decade has provided a great deal of new research on approaches to teaching ELL students. We have now considerable knowledge about dual immersion and other approaches to bilingual education that suggest that students derive added benefits from learning two languages without losing effectiveness in either. The current instantiation of Title III limits the opportunities for states, districts, and schools to apply this new information in a systematic way and should be changed.
  • [4] Title XI Education Amendments of 1972 contains an anti-discrimination provision that protects women. There is no specific education program—the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education administers the provision.
  • [5] See Houck and DeBray (Forthcoming) for a thoughtful discussion of how the federal government might stimulate these equalization reforms.
  • [6] Preservation of anonymity and protection of human subjects can be more complex with qualitative data than with large-scale survey or assessment data, and demands for transparency and replication must be tempered by the feasibility of making these data available without jeopardizing the anonymity of particular individuals. See for information about the Creative Commons licenses.
  • [7] States differ substantially in their political and administrative structures with respect to education. In some states, the state department of education exercises the primary leadership, policy, and administrative functions; in other states, the governor and state board of education have the primary leadership and policy roles. We refer to the state as a whole in this chapter, irrespective of which particular agency or branch of state government carries out a given function. Of course, similar variation in governance structure occurs at the local level; in some districts, the mayor has substantial authority while in most others the superintendent and the local board are in charge. Again, we focus on the level of the system in general rather than on the roles of specific actors.
  • [8] See, for example, Jill Tucker, “Bay Area Schools Scramble for Qualified Teachers amid Shortage, SFGate, October 12, 2014, for-qualified-teachers-5818410.php
  • [9] See the Vergara v. California entry in Wikipedia for background information on the suit, the specific state statutes involved, and additional citations. Vergara_v._California
  • [10] We recognize the difficulty of creating weighted pupil formulas in states where high percentages of school funding comes from local sources.
  • [11] Embedded in the federal education code are programs directed at some of these students, but even where there is a targeted program, the federal contribution to the support of the students is de minimis. For the federal homeless program, for example, the average support to a school for a homeless child is roughly $40 per year. Many states have similarly small programs for different groups of students. Others are unserved. Their in-school and out-of-school lives are chaotic and depressing, and each of these groups has a very high dropout rate. When they enter their teenage years, far too many suffer from drug or alcohol addiction and many of the males are eventually incarcerated. Even considering the overlaps among categories, the sum of students in these groups in any given year is likely between 2 and 3 million, or roughly 4–6 % of the public school children in the nation. For details on specific groups of these children, see the following sites: and 24294107/fears-another-lost-generation-youth-homeless-numbers-rising (homeless youth);;; and foster-care (foster youth); and policy_legislation&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=43804 (youth with mental disabilities).
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