50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now developed an interactive tool to assess each of its states across its four dimensions of a healthy and dynamic learning system (i.e., change lens). With this tool, states are able to self-assess their education landscape across 50+ indicators of success. 50CAN had 45+ conversations with partners in the educational advocacy space to determine the indicators of success under each change lens. Following these conversations we solicited significant feedback and collaboration amongst our staff and some external partners. The scoring methodology involves a summation of total points and determining the numeric range (i.e., 1-4) into which the total points fall.
(There was not enough information to make an assessment.)
Highlighted text: This indicator of success is foundational to 50CAN’s educational advocacy and this indicator’s respective change lens. As such, this indicator carries a higher weight/value when assessing whether or not it is present in a given education landscape.
Community: Effective, sustainable policy change requires strong relationships, real-time feedback and long-term ownership by the people served.
(2 point out of 4) – Our nonprofit and community leaders are engaged in bettering learning outcomes, but we must keep them more regularly, thoroughly informed. Student diversity is our greatest asset—yet our teaching force lacks rich diversity, and we could do more to correct this problem.
Builds strong relationships with people served
Community Engagement and Relationships
Businesses, community non-profits and clergies have built relationships with districts and schools that are based on more than solely providing financial supports.
Businesses partner with the state, cities, districts and/or schools to help meet expectations of local industries.
The city has cross-sector partnerships that are working toward improving educational outcomes.
Local philanthropic organizations are investing in hyper-localized community efforts and campaigns.
When appropriate, districts and their schools show evidence of engaging with, and seeking input from, the people they serve. These schools will use surveys and feedback forms, focus groups, attendance at non-school related community meetings, establishment of parent taskforces/councils, and/or other measures.
Draws upon a deep understanding of the local context
Teachers and Leadership
The city’s teacher population is racially reflective of the city’s student population.
Over the past five years, the population of teachers who are people of color has grown by at least 14 percent.
Over the past five years, the population of teachers who are people of color has grown by at least three percentage points.
The city has reported having enough teachers for English Language Learners (ELL) at least four times over the last six reporting years.
Feedback and Communication Channels
The city, district and its schools show evidence of communicating with, and providing timely feedback to, community members and parents using multiple, public mediums.
For states that have reported not having enough teachers for ELL students (see above indicator), communication with community members and parents is available in other appropriate languages.
*States that have reported having enough ELL teachers have fully achieved this indicator.
The city, district and its schools provide examples of current and on-going school- and city-based trainings and resources on diversity and cultural promotion.
Gives the community ownership of decisions
Community members and parents attend school-related meetings and events that are held during accessible hours and provide equity supports.
Community members and parents are responsive to school and district requests.
Community members and parents are sharing stories and voicing concerns about the state’s education system and the schools in their communities.
K-12 Governance Structures
State Board of Education meetings are held at least once a month in an accessible location.
State Board of Education meetings provide at least one remote option.
State Board of Education meetings provide the opportunity for public comment on current and non-agenda related items.
The State Board of Education has at least one non-voting community member representative.
State Board of Education membership is reflective of the state’s geographical, racial and socioeconomic make-up.
The chief state school officer (i.e., state superintendent, commissioner of education) is elected, rather than appointed.
Competition: Greater responsiveness and better outcomes are more likely when people have the power to choose among multiple options to meet their needs.
(2 point out of 4) – We offer students and families a range of education options, but most students are still enrolled in traditional public schools. We could do far more to ensure that parents and children know their options, can readily access them and can easily learn about their quality.
Allows multiple providers to vie for users
Alternatives to Traditional Public Schools
Full (current indicator status): Students and families have access to traditional public schools, public charter schools and at least two other education options.
Partial: In addition to traditional public schools, students and families have access to two other education options.
None: Students and families have limited access to alternative education options outside of traditional public schools (one or no alternative options).
Distribution of Student Enrollment by Sectors
Full: No education option enrolls more than 55 percent of the student population.
Partial: One education option enrolls between 56 percent and 75 percent of the student population.
None (current indicator status): One education option enrolls more than 76 percent of the student population.
Provides high-quality information to users
Accessible Choice Information
School choice-related performance information is clearly accessible and presented in an uncluttered and relevant manner, so parents are able to easily compare school choices with side-by-side comparisons.
Information is provided by state education agencies, school districts and parent report cards.
State and local education resources provide a step-by-step choice process that includes relevant information and definitions that allow parents to weigh important information easily.
Information to support school choice by parents is complete and includes performance data from the previous three years.
Full: School choice information is available in at least three of the following forms: online, print, in-person meetings and/or fairs to ensure that the largest group of people are able to access it.
Partial (current indicator status): School choice information is available in at least two of the following forms: online, print, in-person meetings and/or fairs to ensure that the largest group of people are able to access it.
None: School choice information is available in at least one or none of the following forms: online, print, in-person meetings and/or fairs to ensure that the largest group of people are able to access it.
All families, particularly those that need additional help navigating the choice system, are familiar with and given access to the necessary outlets to ask questions and connect.
Gives providers incentives for improvement and success
Full: Students are provided free transportation to any public school of their choice within district borders without any additional burden (i.e., cost, time) to the student or family.
Partial: Students are provided a transportation subsidy to any public school of their choice but parents still bear substantial costs and/or inconvenience.
None (current indicator status): Students are provided a transportation subsidy to traditional public schools of their choice (excluding public charter schools).
Common Enrollment Systems
Full: Within large urban areas, there is a common enrollment application for all public schools within a district’s boundaries.
Partial: Within a district, students and families are not limited to schools based on their geographic location.
None (current indicator status): Rather than sharing a common enrollment application, each school has its own application.
District-Charter Compacts and Collaboration
The state has at least one formal agreement between districts and public charter schools that aims to provide equal access to high-quality schools for all students.
In the absence of a formal agreement, there are public charter schools and districts that are located within the same school space or sharing instructional programs and approaches.
Equitable Funding Formulas
Full: The state has a funding formula that allows dollars to follow students to the school of their choice. The funding formula is weighted based on student need (i.e., special education, English Language Learner, etc.)
Partial: At least 75 percent of a district’s operating budget is allocated using the weighted student funding formula (as described above).
None (current indicator status): At least 50 percent of a district’s operating budget is allocated using the weighted student funding formula (as described above).
Performance: Success requires both the flexibility to pursue excellence and rigorous standards to ensure those serving the public are held accountable for their results.
(3 points out of 4) – With rigorous standards, aligned assessments and easy-to-understand state report cards, performance is one of our strengths. Yet there is plenty of room for improvement, from increasing supports for educators to ensuring pay and job protection are related to educator quality.
Empowers strong leaders to make decisions
School Leader Flexibility
School leaders are able to directly hire and fire teachers and other school staff.
School leaders set their own priorities on spending for staff, technology, facilities and/or other purposes.
Programs to develop school leaders include individual supports such as professional learning, evaluations or both.
Programs to develop school leaders include organizational supports such as program approval, licensure or both.
States have designated leadership recruitment programs and channels.
Sets rigorous standards for success
Standards and Statewide Assessments
State learning standards are both rigorous and accessible.
State learning standards are presented in clear, single documents that allow teachers to look at their own grade-level expectations with ease.
The state standardized assessment is aligned to the state learning standards.
Standardized assessments are administered to all students.
Assessment result reports disaggregate student performance data by student subgroups.
Assessment results are provided to families and educators in a timely manner (one that allows action to be taken where necessary).
Assessment results are easily accessed and understood by parents and community stakeholders.
Holds parties accountable for results
Accountability Systems and Mechanisms
The state has a system that tracks and shares student data from preschool through college.
On the statewide data system, state report cards and assessment results are accessible in less than three clicks.
State report cards and assessment results contain data from at least the most recent school year.
Assessments of school performance include analyzing disaggregated student learning gains and achievement (i.e., review of overall proficiency and growth on assessments).
Assessments of school performance include analyzing school environment (i.e., review of attendance, re-enrollment, school culture, etc.).
After three years of low-performance (as defined by the state), the state initiates a school improvement plan that includes school turnaround, school closure and/or a parent petition to improve the school.
Teacher Quality and Accountability
Teacher evaluations include analyzing student learning gains and achievement (i.e., review of overall proficiency and growth on assessments).
Teacher evaluations include analyzing classroom environment (i.e., survey data, classroom observations, etc.).
Employment contracts (both individual contracts and those that are collectively bargained) allow for pay structures that recognize the varying performance and achievements of employees.
Teacher tenure is awarded, at least based in part, on teacher performance (as determined by an annual performance evaluation).
Pluralism: Diverse populations are better served by dynamic systems that support lots of paths to success and embrace different traditions, values and beliefs.
(3 points out of 4) – We have made progress in developing a diversity of educational programs. However, we must ensure that the types and numbers of schools and educational approaches are not limited. We should also strive to develop a more well-rounded definition of student success.
Allows for multiple, unique pathways to success
Differences in Educational Approach and Learning
State and local governments do not dictate the manner in which schools teach curriculum, as schools are free to teach within a framework grounded in their priorities.
State and local governments do not restrict or limit the types and numbers of schools and educational approaches used.
The state’s public education is not uniform in culture or delivery and includes a range of alternatives to traditional education approaches.
At least 12.5 percent of students are participating in alternatives to traditional education approaches.
State and local governments show evidence of funding a range of alternatives to traditional education approaches.
Encourages all groups to join
Providers of Educational Approaches and Learning
There is evidence of students being educated by publicly funded non-state entities.
The state does not consider one educational approach or learning style to be superior to another.
Groups traditionally in conflict (e.g., unions and public charter schools, reform organizations) coexist and have demonstrated evidence of working together.
Embraces diversity and differences
Defining Educational Success
The state provides a definition of student educational success that is not constrained by traditionally accepted pathways (i.e., graduation from high school in four years, attending a two- or four-year institution after high school graduation).
Districts and their schools engage in activities to teach students about bullying.
Districts and their schools provide staff trainings on bullying prevention.
Districts and their schools do everything within their legal power to protect student privacy from immigration authorities.
Districts and their schools offer counseling on the impact of immigration status on students and their family members.
Districts and their schools provide “know your rights” presentations.
The state provides native-language assessments to student populations for whom an English-language assessment may be more difficult or not appropriate.
For more information on the specific scoring methodology and the resources used to assess each indicator, please send us a message:
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