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ERIC Number: ED561089
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jun
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Cutting Red Tape: Overcoming State Bureaucracies to Develop High-Performing State Education Agencies
Hanna, Robert; Morrow, Jeffrey S.; Rozen, Marci
Center for American Progress
States serve a special role in the nation's public education system. Through elected legislatures, states have endowed their various state departments of education with powers over public education, which include granting authority to local entities--typically school districts--to run schools. In their oversight capacity, states--traditionally through state education agencies, or SEAs--monitor districts and schools to ensure that students are safe in school and that their education meets minimum quality standards. But such standards are typically not explained with any specificity. Inspired by a national movement to provide equitable opportunities to all children, states also collect and redistribute dollars intended to reduce local funding disparities. Moreover, many policymakers--particularly federal policymakers--and advocates have asked states to drive large-scale educational improvement through federal programs, including No Child Left Behind waivers, Race to the Top initiatives, or the No Child Left Behind, or NCLB, Title I School Improvement Grant program. Because of this wide scope of duties, those who lead SEAs--not just their executive administrators but also other high-level managers--serve an important role in the future of the country as schools are pivotal to the nation's global competitiveness. One major impediment to their success is bureaucracy. In this paper, the authors explore the red tape that binds state education leaders as they seek to make today's ambitious reforms a reality. In doing so, they examine state laws and regulations in four states: California, Louisiana, New York, and Ohio. This purposeful sample, which varies by geographic location and politics, includes states with straightforward, easy-to-navigate resources on state laws. The discussion is organized by five strategic areas that are critical to the successful functioning of SEAs: developing skills; aligning the organization to priorities; evaluating staff performance; recruiting talent; and paying competitively. [This report is part of a larger multi-year project on governance, conducted in partnership with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which evaluates the governance arrangements of our nation's K-12 education system and how they may be improved.]
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress
Identifiers - Location: California; Louisiana; New York; Ohio; Texas