In the era of Race to the Top, waivers, and waivers of waivers, the role of state education agencies (SEAs) has increased dramatically: taking on school turnarounds, teacher-evaluation systems, and now Common Core implementation. Many argue that SEAs need “more capacity” to do these new jobs successfully. But what if we are asking departments of education not only to do too much but also to do things that they weren't built to do—and probably cannot do well? Should we shrink the SEA and its role and empower other entities to lead state-level reform instead?
Join the Thomas B. Fordham Institute for a discussion on the role of state education agencies and their leaders in the education-reform ecosystem.

Report release:

The State Education Agency:

At the Helm, Not the Oar

Follow the conversation with @educationgadlfy at #HelmNotOar

Download the PowerPoint presented at the event.

Eventbrite - The Student and the Stopwatch


Deborah A. Gist
Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Education
Mark Murphy
Secretary of Education, Delaware Department of Education
Andy Smarick
Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Partner, Bellwether Education Partners


Chester E. Finn, Jr.
President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute