Evidence-based policymaking can transform the delivery of education services, restore public trust in schools, and improve outcomes for students. It can cut through the noise of political and cultural divisions and give decision makers clarity on how to prioritize the use of limited resources. And it can help build a shared understanding of where the systems designed to serve kids are working well—and where they aren’t—so that leaders can ground their decisions in facts rather than anecdotes and in real student needs rather than perceptions of them.

Given the many challenges to U.S. public education, students, educators and communities need nothing less than excellent support. By harnessing the power of evidence-based policymaking, state boards of education can make faster progress toward that excellence. When government leaders build data and evidence use into the fabric of their organizations, they are better positioned to accomplish the following:

  • understand students’ needs;
  • strategically and equitably invest in evidence-based strategies aligned with those needs;
  • learn more about the impact of their investments, policies, and programs on students’ opportunities and outcomes; and
  • continuously improve the state’s education

Harnessing the Power of Evidence-Based Policymaking

Also In this Issue

Effective State Education Governance

By Arnold F. Shober

No one model is clearly superior, but relationships, talent, and shared loyalty are marks of governance systems that get things done.

Roadmap to Excellence: Strategic Planning for State Boards

By Abigail Potts and Paolo DeMaria

Savvy boards can increase the odds their plans will live, breathe, and have measurable impact.

State Takeovers: No Silver Bullet for School District Improvement

By Beth Schueler

On average, takeover fails to improve achievement measures, but how it is done matters a lot.

Harnessing the Power of Evidence-Based Policymaking

By Heather Boughton and Sara Kerr

State boards should lean into education data and work to overcome challenges to doing so.

State Boards and the Governance of Early Childhood Education

By Elliot Regenstein

As states seek to bring coherence to the disparate systems that have a hand in early education and care, state boards have key roles to play.

African-American teacher reading to school children. Image credit: iStock

The Role of Teachers Unions in School Governance during COVID-19

By Lesley Lavery and Sara Dahill-Brown

While relationships with school leaders were contentious in places, many districts benefited from collaborative ones.

Featured Items


New State Strategic Plans Zero In on Learning Recovery

This NASBE analysis looks at 49 state strategic plans and finds many target learning recovery and other pandemic-related education issues.
A diverse group of preschoolers in a classroom i

Preschool for All

The state role in early education keeps growing. This Standard details the ways that states have expanded access to quality preschool, the research that supports these efforts, and the growing pains these initiatives are likely to experience.
Photo Credit: iStock i

Six Questions to Advance Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship

Adolescents consume a lot of screen media, which exposes them to potentially harmful media messages that impacts their physical, mental, and social well-being. Read how some states are equipping students with skills to navigate a complex media landscape.

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