Northwest Regional Comprehensive Center

Printed from:







The Capacity Challenge: What It Takes for State Education Agencies to Support School Improvement

The Center on Reinventing Public Education released a report highlighting what SEAs are doing to meet new and existing obligations. Researchers conducted interviews with state chiefs and analyzed agency initiatives and budgets in 10 states with varied approaches to school and district improvement. They found no evidence that those with the most money had better data systems or more comprehensive accountability systems. And, few SEAs engage in the type of budget analysis that would enable them to assess whether their investments align with their priorities or are paying off.

Importantly, the findings suggest that in many cases, the will to act is the biggest barrier to transforming agency practice. Absent strong leadership and a commitment to improving the performance of low-performing schools and districts, more resources or legislative victories are unlikely to result in meaningful change.

To transform their organizations from compliance monitors into more effective drivers of reform, SEAs need to focus on leveraging the authority and funding they have to support school improvement. The report provides several recommendations state chiefs can act on even without new resources.

December 2013