Across the country, district and state leaders are engaged in the critical work of turning around chronically underperforming schools—often with support from the federal government. Leaders use a variety of approaches: while some create separate school districts for the lowest achieving schools, others use charter management organizations and provide parents with greater choice, and still others appoint state receivers to take over struggling districts.
Ensuring this turnaround work is successful is more important now than ever, particularly as the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, gives states greater autonomy to support their lowest-performing schools.
In January 2016, the Center for American Progress and Education Resource Strategies brought together federal, state, and local leaders with expertise in school turnaround to develop a set of design tenets for state policymakers based on best practices from the field. This report outlines seven tenets that emerged from that discussion. Through this collaboration, CAP and ERS aim to use evidence from the field to affect local, state, and federal law and policy so that states can empower districts to be agents of change in school turnaround.