The SEA of the Future: Leveraging Performance Management to Support School Improvement

According to the authors of The SEA of the Future: Leveraging Performance Management to Support School Improvement, the federal government and state legislatures have asked State Education Agencies (SEAs) to be take a bigger role in improving schools. In the Buckeye State, the SEA is the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). To meet these increasing demands, the authors suggest SEAs transition into a performance management system, a system defined by high standards and goals, the systematic assessment of the organization’s progress, and a willingness to continuously improve and adopt new strategies.

In three interconnected essays, the authors, who are mostly affiliated with the University of Washington's Center for Reinventing Public Education, share what they believe to be the necessary steps to build a successful performance management system: (1) changing the system of support that an SEA offers to improve the organizational capacity of local districts and schools, (2) funneling resources to support the policies necessary to enact district-level change, and (3) engaging stakeholders such as governors, legislators, and advocates to help sustain the decisions made by SEA leaders. The key takeaway is that a successful SEA must be willing to change and respond to the needs of its districts and schools, while being unburdened by the status quo.

As cities in Ohio become leaders in education reform, it is becoming increasingly necessary for ODE to help support and sustain these policy reforms. Fortunately, state superintendent Dick Ross has a track record of innovating at the district level in Reynoldsburg. And now that some of Ohio’s most important policymakers share a similar strategy for improving education, these groups must establish a foundation for sustainable change in education. If Ohio’s major cities and ODE can work in tandem to develop a flexible and efficient system that does whatever is necessary to provide a good education for its children the possibilities become all the more limitless.

SOURCE: Betheny Gross, Ashley Jochim, Paul Hill, Patrick J. Murphy, and Sam Redding, The SEA of The Future: Leveraging Performance Management to Support School Improvement, (Seattle, WA: Building State Capacity and Productivity Center, May 2013).

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