State Work for Stronger Districts

We believe urban school systems must transform how they organize resources—people, time, technology, and money—so that every school can succeed for every student. Through our extensive work with districts and states across the country, we recognize the vital importance of the state’s role in creating a foundation for equity and excellence upon which districts and schools can thrive. Our efforts at the state level include:

  • Rigorous analyses of statewide resource patterns that help focus state support and resource decisions
  • Audits of state policy that identify areas of change with the greatest impact on teaching and learning
  • Publications and visioning support around the state’s role in transforming education systems
  • Curation of tools and exemplars from the field that SEAs and other state organizations can disseminate for broader use
  • Analysis of the implications of federal policy on state action, with a focus on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

ERS is synthesizing the data and experience from this work into a new newsletter, States Lead Now, to help state leaders take on their new responsibilities under ESSA, and to embrace this moment to promote equity and excellence. Sign up for the States Lead Now newsletter.

Our State Partnerships


California's 2013 implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) significantly reinvests in public education after years of budget cuts, and gives school districts much more flexibility over how to use their resources. In a series of reports made possible by The Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, we explored how districts could make the most of this new law. We also created California-specific versions of our two most popular online tools.

Related Resources:



ERS partnered with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in a two-pronged project: working directly with a cohort of eight districts to analyze key resource data and help them improve how they use people, time, and money to increase student achievement; and presenting findings and recommendations to a NYSED steering committee, highlighting how the state can shift from a compliance watchdog to a strategic partner to districts.

Partnership Dates: 2014-2015

Related Resources:

More on this partnership: New York State Education Department partner page



In this six-month engagement, ERS worked with 32 Tennessee districts, known as “Accelerated Planning Districts,” through the Department of Education to support a redesign of their compensation system.

Partnership Dates: 2013-2014

Related Resources:

More on this partnership: Tennessee Accelerated Planning Districts partner page



ERS partnered with the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) to provide a school system funding analysis for three districts: Bridgeport, Hamden, and Windham. This special project follows our work with Waterbury Public Schools in 2013.

Partnership Dates: 2014-2015

Related Resources:

More on this partnership: Connecticut partner page



ERS partnered with the Georgia Department of Education to map resource use and support new resource strategies in five districts, support teacher compensation reform, analyze state-level spending, and study the impact of federal and state education policies. 

Partnership Dates: 2012-2014

Related Resources:

More on this partnership: Georgia partner page