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ERIC Number: ED535609
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Modernizing the State Education Agency: Different Paths toward Performance Management
Murphy, Patrick; Rainey, Lydia
Center on Reinventing Public Education
This project examines how eight state education agencies engaged the charge of improving their lowest-performing schools. The states examined are among the most active and intentional in this regard. In many ways, they are at the leading edge of what could eventually become 50 different experiments in performance management. By focusing on states at the forefront of the turnaround effort, the authors hope to identify promising paths that SEAs can follow as they shift the focus of their departments away from ensuring compliance and toward managing for improved performance. This report begins by briefly discussing prior research on the role of state agencies in supporting struggling schools. It then identifies the logic of school reform that guides their processes. Importantly, all of the states examined here start from nearly the same point, a federally defined set of steps by which they are bound, and they share certain elements of change. For example, they all used data to guide their work, restructured their organizations, and embraced the principles of transparency and clarity in communicating their intentions. They established a sense of urgency to build momentum for reform, leveraged the threat of federal requirements, and relied upon strong leadership, though in differing manners and to differing degrees. Finally, the report examines the overall strategic visions that guide SEAs' efforts to improve schools. These visions represent the greatest variation in terms of how SEAs approach school improvement. Undergirding these strategies are very different theories of action and expectations about the role of local education agencies (LEAs). It is too early to identify one strategic approach that is best in all situations. Each was implemented only recently and is embedded in a particular set of circumstances. Interestingly, they all share a common implicit assumption that enough administrative, teaching, and school leadership talent--either in terms of individuals or organizations--can be developed or recruited to support the reform effort. While the overall prognosis is uncertain as to the best transformation path, it is clear that any approach relies on recruiting enough talent to drive the effort. New Jersey Department of Education Organizational Charts 2010 and 2011 are appended. (Contains 2 figures, 2 tables and 36 footnotes.)
Center on Reinventing Public Education. University of Washington Bothell Box 358200, Seattle, WA 98195. Tel: 206-685-2214; Fax: 206-221-7402; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
Authoring Institution: University of Washington, Center on Reinventing Public Education
Identifiers - Location: Florida; Indiana; Louisiana; Michigan; Minnesota; New Jersey; Rhode Island; Tennessee
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001; Race to the Top