Policymakers and education leaders have spent decades searching for effective ways to address low-performing schools, yet the struggles persist. Piecemeal reforms have taken years to show positive results, if there’s any improvement at all, and states are looking for turnaround strategies that produce immediate and transformative changes.

A new report from Education Commission of the States, Emerging state turnaround strategies, outlines three ideas that are gaining traction around the nation – innovation zones, recovery districts and receiverships. The report also provides information on and available outcomes data for each of those three strategies.

“Successful turnaround strategies for struggling schools continue to present a major challenge, including many financial, political and logistical hurdles that must be cleared,” said Emily Workman, a policy analyst for Education Commission of the States. “By showcasing promising turnaround strategies, this report provides policymakers with a number of questions worth considering before implementing any one strategy.”

Some important takeaways from this report:

  • Frustrated by limited results from typical school restructuring initiatives, states are looking for turnaround strategies that produce immediate, dramatic and transformative changes.
  • States may want to conduct an initial assessment of their political landscape and the structural supports/barriers that exist in order to determine the most effective approach to implementing a statewide turnaround strategy.
  • Innovation zones differ from takeover districts and receiverships in that they do not require states to remove authority from the district.

For questions, contact Education Commission of the States Communications Specialist Brady Delander at bdelander@ecs.org or (303) 299.3622.

Tweet this ECS report!

  • Efforts to improve outcomes for students in low-performing schools highlighted in @edcommission report: http://bit.ly/1PO6ldi
  • 3 school turnaround strategies – innovation zones, recovery districts, receiverships-explored in @edcommission report http://bit.ly/1PO6ldi
  • States are looking for turnaround strategies that produce immediate, dramatic & transformative changes @edcommission http://bit.ly/1PO6ldi 


 PUBLISHED: October 27, 2015

 AUTHOR(S): Unspecified



 STATE(S): Unspecified

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