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ERIC Number: ED570486
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 42
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Measures of Last Resort: Assessing Strategies for State-Initiated Turnarounds. Linking State and Local School Improvement
Jochim, Ashley
Center on Reinventing Public Education
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) puts responsibility for improving student outcomes back where some say it has always belonged--under states' purview. No longer will prescriptive federal requirements dictate how states should identify, support, and turn around the lowest-performing schools and districts. Instead, states are empowered to craft their own "evidence-based" turnaround strategies. Recent history provides many examples of state-initiated turnaround, including collaborative approaches that leverage school districts as partners, targeted turnarounds through state-managed school districts, and comprehensive district takeovers that aim to improve management as well as instruction. Yet, the evidence base around these strategies is surprisingly weak. Existing research fails to identify the comparative effectiveness of alternative approaches or help states understand when particular strategies are likely to deliver the desired results. This report addresses these gaps and provides a comprehensive look at state-initiated turnaround in all its varieties. The report identifies various mechanisms states can use to intervene in schools and dives deep into nearly a dozen recent turnarounds in eight states. It maps the five common turnaround approaches: state support for local turnaround, state-authorized turnaround zone, mayoral control, school takeover, and district takeover. It also analyzes what is known about state-initiated turnaround in all its forms. This report documents how the state role in school and district turnaround has evolved over time and the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches. Research for this report included: (1) Examination of state laws and regulations; (2) Interviews with 15 stakeholders--including state chiefs, district staff, community groups, and support providers--on the role of the state in turnaround, political and substantive impacts of state-initiated turnarounds, and implementation challenges; (3) Review of recent evaluation evidence on state-initiated turnarounds and literature on conditions required for turnarounds to succeed; and (4) Deep dives in 11 cases of state-initiated turnaround in eight states: (a) Oakland Unified School District (CA); (b) Recovery School District (LA); (c) Lawrence Public Schools (MA); (d)Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (MA); (e) Educational Achievement Authority (MI); (f) Camden City School District (NJ); (g) Newark Public Schools (NJ); (h) New York City Department of Education (NY); (i) The School District of Philadelphia (PA); (j) Shelby County Schools iZone (TN); and (k) Achievement School District (TN), which included reviews of research and media accounts documenting the causes and impacts (both political and substantive) of the turnaround effort. The following are appended: (1) Strategies States Currently Employ to Support School/District Turnaround; (2) Summary of Cases Selected for Deeper Inquiry; and (3) Evaluations of State-Initiated Turnaround.
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: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)
Identifiers - Location: California (Oakland); Louisiana; Massachusetts; Michigan; New Jersey; New Jersey (Newark); New York (New York); Pennsylvania (Philadelphia); Tennessee