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State takeovers of struggling school systems represent some of the most contentious policy decisions in education. The transfer of decision-making power from a locally elected school board to the state is often undertaken with the goal of dramatically improving student academic achievement in districts that have been persistently low performing over many years. The results of such reforms have important equity implications, as the districts targeted for takeover often serve high concentrations of low-income students of color.

What is known about how this significant shift in education governance affects children and their learning? A recent paper, which I coauthored with Joshua Bleiberg, sheds light on this question. In short, we find no evidence that state takeover benefits student academic achievement and some evidence that it can be disruptive to student reading performance in the early years of reform.


State Takeovers: No Silver Bullet for School District Improvement





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

Photo Credit: iStock i

Leading and Governing

Is there another domestic policy space more complicated than state education governance? In the face of the 50-plus ways of constructing state systems of public education in this country, the authors in this issue of The Standard attempt to tease out what constitutes strong leadership and effective governance.
Photo Credit: iStock i

Preparing Principals through High-Quality Internships

To equip and retain more high-quality school leaders, states can encourage principal internships as a key part of preparation.

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