To survey the states on their education policies, the Education Week Research Center sent surveys to the chief state school officers in all 50 states and to the superintendent of the District of Columbia public schools. Education Week mailed the survey, which contained five sections—standards and accountability, assessment, efforts to improve teacher quality, school climate, and school finance—on July 28, 2004; electronic copies were sent by e-mail on July 29. In several states, the section on efforts to improve teacher quality also was sent to the state’s teacher-standards board.
Respondents were asked to answer the survey questions and provide appropriate documentation, such as state statutes, administrative rules, or Web site addresses, to verify that the reported policies are in place for the 2004-05 school year. To ensure that answers were accurate and that consistent standards were applied across the states, Education Week researchers carefully evaluated each state’s responses and documentary evidence. That often required further phone conversations with the individuals who had completed the survey.
At the end of the approximately eight-week vetting process, on Sept. 27, Education Week sent each chief state school officer a completed survey indicating the state’s initial response and the final determination by the Education Week Research Center, based on the available documentation. Officials in the state were asked to review the final answers and provide any changes or corrections with appropriate documentation.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia provided responses to the survey. The Education Week Research Center thanks all of the individuals who generously contributed their time and effort to provide information for the survey. Education Week‘s editors and research staff hope this examination of policies across the states will inform the efforts of researchers, legislators, policymakers, and practitioners. The research staff invites requests for information gathered during the survey process to support additional research.