In June of this year, the Supreme Court struck down race-based affirmative action practices in higher education. With colleges and universities now in the thick of the “admissions season,” and many decisions still pending, we want to share information and resources on the potential impact it will have in the Commonwealth and the nation. Our latest policy analysis also provides information on what those who work in education–from counselors and educators to administrators and policymakers–can do to remain vigilant and engaged in pursuit of equitable education and outcomes for all students.
Earlier this month, we hosted an event bringing together the education and business communities of Western Massachusetts to discuss the Condition of Education in the region. We were fortunate to be joined by Massachusetts Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler along with a panel of experts representing local schools and employers, who discussed ways to engage students, particularly given a recent spike in chronic absenteeism. 
In many sectors, research and development (R&D) is an integral part of day-to-day operations. In healthcare, for example, research often happens in hospitals right alongside patient care. Research doesn’t look like this in K-12 education. Every day, in classrooms across Massachusetts, educators are testing new and innovative ideas with their students. But without the proper support, these ideas rarely serve as a basis for driving systemic change. We want to change that. We want schools to have functioning R&D operations with the resources, time, and support they need to really explore and activate new ideas. So we’re launching the Rennie R&D Labs, a first-of-it’s-kind endeavor to fully embed research processes within our mainstream public school system
Legislation currently under consideration at the State House proposes new requirements regarding literacy screenings and services. Our bill analysis takes a closer look at An Act to Promote High-Quality Comprehensive Literacy Instruction in All Massachusetts Schools, delving into how literacy screenings will be conducted; state-approved tools, timelines, and templates for reporting; and the types of support state education agencies will provide as schools and districts implement screeners and interventions to promote literacy.
On June 6, Rennie's Director of Policy, Alexis Lian, testified to the Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on Education during a hearing on a number of bills including H.579 and S.263, An act to promote high-quality comprehensive literacy instruction in all Massachusetts schools.
Massachusetts lost nearly 8,000 teachers in the last school year. Teachers report high levels of job stress, insufficient support, and a lack of schedule flexibility. Recently, a national poll found that only 37% of parents would like their children to become public school teachers, the smallest percentage since the poll started in 1969. The teaching role is at a critical juncture. Something must be done to make this essential profession more flexible, sustainable, and attractive. But what?
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we're sharing steps schools can take to advance mental health support. Schools, educators, and student support teams are undertaking the overwhelming balancing act of both responding to the present needs of students and building comprehensive systems of support for the future. This is no easy task. And while we don't have all the answers, our work with practitioners through our Thriving Minds initiative has given us some perspective on steps schools can take to get started.
Our education system is at a crossroads. After years of disruption from the pandemic, there’s an instinct by some to return to “normal." But we can’t go back. The old way wasn’t working. As a state, we have never fulfilled our promise to educate all students. And, for students facing systemic racism or economic hardship, or who are neurodiverse learners, putting back the old system often simply means rebuilding the same barriers that have denied them opportunities. It’s time we acknowledge the shortcomings of our education system and begin to build approaches to learning that match the ways our children and youth understand and navigate their daily lives. It’s time to truly rethink education. And we see this as the new focus of our Condition of Education project. Over the coming year and beyond we will be asking bigger questions about how we rethink when, where, and how students learn.
Young people of color make up nearly 50 percent of the student body in Massachusetts. Yet, less than 8 percent of Massachusetts teachers identify as non-white. Efforts to increase students’ access to diverse educators have run up against a host of barriers. A bill currently being considered in the state legislature takes aim at this issue. What would this legislation mean for Massachusetts? Our team takes a closer look at H.549: An Act Relative to Educator Diversity in our latest bill summary.

Three research fellows from Rennie’s Future Education Leaders Network reflect on ways to support young people of color interested in working in the education space. Their blog posts focus on the push and pull young people of color face in their pathways to education, highlighting research on financial, social, and emotional barriers to educators entering and remaining in the field. The fellows also shed light on their own personal experiences and share their reflections from having gone through the education workforce pipeline themselves.