State accountability systems and the No Child Left Behind Act force policymakers and the public, alike, to recognize the large numbers of schools that are failing to educate all students to high standards. More schools and districts than ever are being identified as low performing, and the problem requires substantial, systemic action from the state. The policy focus in Massachusetts has shifted from developing an assessment system that identifies low performers to recognizing the need for the state to increase its capacity to provide assistance. The goal of providing state assistance to schools and districts is to build their capacity for improving student achievement.
This brief is designed to inform policymakers about the current context surrounding state intervention into low performing schools and districts and to outline the steps the state can take to further develop its intervention services. Rather than identifying the state system that has had the greatest impact on student achievement, this report is intended to offer ideas based on other states' different approaches and to highlight the need for further research.
This policy brief is broken into five sections that:
- Clarify current state and national imperatives which require expanded support to low performing schools and districts;
- Describe the state intervention system that presently operates in Massachusetts and analyze it in the context of other state's efforts;
- Identify key decision areas in the design and expansion of intervention systems;
- Profile innovative district intervention models from other states that could provide lessons on implementation and structure for Massachusetts; and
- Present a series of recommendations for Massachusetts to consider in strengthening its system of intervention, especially at the district level.