We regularly analyze results from American School District Panel surveys, produce in-depth studies of districts' work, and produce reports and commentaries to share our findings. Here are the publications we have produced so far.

July 10, 2024


When challenges never let up: School district leaders steer through hazards in Baltimore and ChicagoCRPE

The Baltimore City Public School System and Chicago Public Schools executive leadership teams are using several strategies to help their systems build back after the pandemic. This report seeks to understand the strategies district leaders employ to support schools, how these strategies work in practice, and the consequent challenges the leaders encounter.

May 14, 2024

Survey analysis

School Was in Session This Summer, but Less Than Half of Eligible Students EnrolledRAND

Summer programming is one of the main ways school districts have sought to help students recover academically from COVID-19 pandemic–related setbacks. How many districts offered summer programming and for which students in summer 2023?

April 17, 2024

Survey analysis

Using Artificial Intelligence Tools in K–12 ClassroomsRAND

How is AI beginning to affect teaching and learning in K–12 public schools? Researchers combined the perspectives of K–12 teachers and district leaders in this report to construct the most comprehensive picture to date of how educators are engaging with AI products and tools for teaching.

March 14, 2024

Survey analysis

Staffing, Budget, Politics, and Academic Recovery in DistrictsRAND

What are U.S. school districts experiencing with regard to staffing, budgeting, the politicization of schooling, and academic recovery efforts? In this Data Note, researchers provide a brief update on these four challenges using data from the fall 2023 American School District Panel survey.

Sept. 6, 2023

Survey analysis

How Are District Leaders Thinking About Mathematics? Selected Findings from the American School District PanelRAND

To obtain a national picture of how school districts across the country were approaching mathematics during and after the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, researchers surveyed and interviewed district and charter network leaders in the American School District Panel multiple times between fall 2021 and spring 2023.

July 18, 2023


Teaching recovery? Three years in, school system leaders report that the pandemic weakened instructionCRPE

CRPE’s fourth and final report investigating the overarching question: After three years of learning disruptions, how are school system leaders responding? Leaders report that a crisis in the quality of classroom teaching is diverting time and resources away from targeted supports for students and toward core instruction.

July 12, 2023

Survey analysis

Politics Is the Top Reason Superintendents Are StressedRAND

How stressed are school superintendents? What are the reasons for their stress? To find out, authors surveyed 150 superintendents in American School District Panel member districts. In spring 2023, 79 percent of superintendents reported that their jobs were “often” or “always” stressful.

Feb. 16, 2023

Survey analysis

Educator Turnover Has Markedly Increased, but Districts Have Taken Actions to Boost Teacher RankRAND

Did districts continue to experience staff shortages during the 2022–2023 school year? To obtain a national picture of teacher and principal turnover at the end of the 2021–2022 school year and districts' staffing shortages at the beginning of the 2022–2023 school year, researchers surveyed 300 district and charter network leaders in the American School District Panel.

Jan. 26, 2023


Navigating political tensions over schoolingCRPE

Public schooling has always been politically fraught, but current disagreements over issues related to race, sexuality, gender, and COVID-19 have reached a tipping point. According to a new report, half of school system leaders say that these disagreements are disrupting schooling.

Nov. 3, 2022


Back to school, but not caught up: After school reopenings, administrators eager to tackle learning loss continue to face challengesCRPE

This report serves as an update to ongoing research on five school systems to reveal the academic, social, and political challenges posed by the pandemic and what system leaders and their staff are doing to address student learning loss.

Aug. 8, 2022


Educators’ Poor Morale Matters, Even If They Don’t Quit. Here’s WhyThe 74

Low morale in today’s educators may dissuade tomorrow’s from entering the field. Stressed-out teachers are often absent.

Aug. 4, 2022

Methods Paper

RAND American School District Panel: Creation and Technical DescriptionRAND

This paper describes the ASDP sample design, methods used to recruit districts to join the panel during the 2020–2021 school year, recruitment results through the first several rounds of enrolling districts into the panel, and methods employed to weight ASDP data.

July 19, 2022

Survey analysis

Districts Continue to Struggle with Staffing, Political Polarization, and Unfinished Instruction: Selected Findings from the Fifth American School District Panel SurveyRAND

To obtain a national picture of districts' challenges at the end of the third school year during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, RAND researchers assessed nationally representative survey responses from 291 district leaders who completed the American School District Panel (ASDP) survey in spring 2022.

July 12, 2022

Survey analysis

State of the Superintendent — High Job Satisfaction and a Projected Normal Turnover Rate: Selected Findings from the Fifth American School District Panel SurveyRAND

This report summarizes a survey to a randomly sampled set of 291 American School District Panel district and charter leaders — including 222 superintendents. As of spring 2022, superintendents have positive feelings about their jobs despite their consensus view that the job of the superintendent and of schools has gotten harder over the past decade. Superintendents do not plan to leave their positions at heightened rates at the end of the 2021–2022 school year.

March 23, 2022


Analysis: Summer Learning Is More Popular than Ever. How to Make Sure Your District’s Program Is EffectiveThe 74

By now, it’s well-established that children have suffered substantial academic losses during the pandemic, and most so for students in high-poverty schools, students of color, and low performing white students. Acknowledging the COVID-19 learning interruptions and the fact that summertime is an opportunity in and of itself, the federal government and districts across the country are finding ways to support students in moving ahead between school years.

March 16, 2022


Whack-A-Mole: School Systems Respond to Disrupted Learning in 2021CRPE

In this report, researchers complement recent ASDP survey research with in-depth interviews of leaders on the ground in five school systems. The researchers found that district efforts to emphasize grade-level instruction and just-in-time supports required them to work in new ways. But district responses to COVID-19 in the fall were complicated by a host of factors that made getting to instruction difficult: challenging student behaviors, staffing shortages, and the politicization of health, safety, and education. School districts across the country are working hard to catch students up. But the Whack-A-Mole experience of leading during the pandemic raises questions about how these pressures will affect system leaders and leadership and whether, in the future, schools alone will be able to do enough to help all students get the help they need to recover.

March 14, 2022


What Is Really Polarizing Schools Right Now?RAND

Results from a recent RAND survey of a nationally representative group of district leaders reveal how widespread political polarization has become inside school districts. And the implications for the future of public education are worrisome. So-called “critical race theory” instruction has become a common flashpoint—but it’s the particular polarization about COVID-19 vaccines and school safety practices that a majority of district leaders viewed as disruptive this school year.

Feb. 15, 2022

Survey analysis

Flux in the Educator Labor Market: Acute Staff Shortages and Projected Superintendent Departures: Selected Findings from the Fourth American School District Panel SurveyRAND

Has the COVID-19 pandemic caused shortages among school staff? To obtain a national picture of the various types of staffing challenges that districts are facing in the 2021–2022 school year, RAND researchers surveyed 359 district and charter network leaders in the American School District Panel between October 25, 2021, and December 10, 2021.

Feb. 8, 2022

Survey analysis

District Leaders’ Concerns About Mental Health and Political Polarization in Schools: Selected Findings from the Fourth American School District Panel SurveyRAND

Survey results suggest that districts are confronting serious challenges in the 2021–2022 school year that might be getting in the way of student learning. Although some challenges, such as student and staff mental health, are nearly universal across districts, other challenges are more localized. Historically marginalized districts are confronting extra challenges this school year, such as getting students back in school and low teacher attendance, while a higher percentage of historically advantaged districts are encountering political polarization about COVID-19.

Dec. 22, 2021


The State of the American School District: Policy Recommendations for the Road AheadCRPE

How are public schools navigating the COVID-19 landscape and planning for pandemic recovery? ASDP surveys have tracked some significant shifts already, including dramatic increases in technology deployment and mental health services. However, concerns about future funding could jeopardize these gains. This summary highlights five takeaways from ASDP research that have implications for state policies and practices.

Oct. 28, 2021

White paper

The State of the American District: Refocusing Our State and Local Agendas on Teaching, Learning, and EngagementCRPE

Past American School District Panel surveys revealed that many districts are expanding nonacademic services, navigating a staffing crunch and longer-range fiscal uncertainty, and expanding virtual schools. How can state leaders can ensure these shifts lead to better teaching, learning, engagement, and well-being for students? These three policy memos provide recommendations.

Aug. 30, 2021

Survey analysis

The Rise of Virtual Schools: Selected Findings from the Third American School District Panel SurveyRAND

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted school districts in the United States to offer remote schooling options for their K–12 students. Results from the June 2021 ASDP survey suggest that K–12 remote instruction will outlast the pandemic. This report explores differences in districts' pre-pandemic offerings and plans to offer multiple remote instructional modes in the 2021–2022 school year by district type.

Aug. 23, 2021

Survey analysis

School Districts Have Expanded Their Nonacademic Services for 2021–2022, While Academic Offerings Remain Much the SameRAND

In this report, researchers present some of the changes districts are making to their academic and nonacademic offerings for the upcoming 2021–2022 school year, and whether parental demand has played any role in prompting districts to make these changes. Survey results suggest that while public schools are expanding their nonacademic offerings, much of their academic offerings for 2021–2022 remain the same.

Aug. 16, 2021

Survey analysis

The K–12 Pandemic Budget and Staffing Crises Have Not Panned Out—YetRAND

In this report, researchers present school district leaders' views about staff turnover, hiring, and districts' financial outlooks at the end of the 2020–2021 school year. Based on the survey responses of 292 district leaders from the ASDP, the authors found that teacher and principal turnover had not increased substantially beyond pre-pandemic rates in most districts.

May 25, 2021


How Six School Systems are Responding to Disrupted Schooling: Will It Be Enough?CRPE

In this report, researchers complement their recent survey research with in-depth interviews of leaders on the ground in six school systems. The researchers' goal was to learn how these system leaders approached and managed student learning during this difficult year and to gauge what it means for the future. What happens next will depend not only on district actions but on the nature and depth of students' academic and social needs, which will only become clear over time.

May 11, 2021

Survey analysis

“Urban and Rural Districts Showed a Strong Divide During the COVID-19 PandemicRAND

In this report, researchers summarize results from the second survey of district leaders by RAND's American School District Panel. The survey covered 2020–2021 school year instruction and scheduling, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing and vaccines, enrollments, budget, and staffing. The results are intended to inform policy and education practices related to educators' and students' needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feb. 5, 2021


“Public Education Will Never Be the Same”: How COVID-19 Forced School District Leaders to Innovate on the FlyCRPE

A recent report found that one in five districts planned to create, expand, or maintain online learning after the pandemic is over. A deeper dive into the open-ended responses from district and charter network leaders reveals more detail about what district leaders have discovered in this crisis that they want to keep. In this brief, we summarize themes from the 218 total open-response items to the question, “Did your district adopt any innovative practices in response to COVID-19 that you anticipate continuing in future years, even after the pandemic has passed?”

Jan. 25, 2021


Analysis: Survey of District Leaders Shows Online Learning Is Here to Stay. Some Ways of Making It Work for Students Beyond the PandemicThe 74

Many teachers and students are struggling with online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. And with a new, nationally representative survey of school district leaders confirming that remote coursework is likely here to stay, school systems are going to need to apply the lessons from their forced experiments with remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic to better adapt.

Dec. 15, 2020

Survey analysis

Remote Learning Is Here to Stay: Results from the First American School District Panel SurveyRAND

School district leaders are concerned about students' unequal opportunities to learn during the pandemic, students' social and emotional learning needs, and insufficient funding to cover staff. About two in ten still anticipate that a fully remote learning option will become a permanent public school offering.

Oct. 1, 2020

Case study

The Shock of Last Spring Suppresses Conflicts and Complexity that Surface Later: Lessons from Aurora Public Schools' COVID-19 Response Spring 2020 CRPE

A suburban Colorado district's experience last spring and planning for the fall shows the benefits and limits of crisis management in dealing with COVID-19. Leaders must navigate interest group politics and intergovernmental relations, not just technical and instructional challenges.

Oct. 1, 2020

Case study

Charm City Leaders Adapt as They Tackle Equity Gaps: Lessons from Baltimore City Public Schools' COVID-19 Response Spring 2020CRPE

A long-suffering district in a long-suffering city has its fragile progress threatened by the virus amid a mounting reckoning with race and inequality. Rather than succumb to the threat or try to wrest control from a decentralized system, leaders moved boldly and swiftly to control what they could (food, devices) and became an organization set on learning and adapting quickly.

Oct. 1, 2020

Case study

Chicago Schools Grind into Action: Lessons from Chicago Public Schools' COVID-19 Response Spring 2020CRPE

One of the nation's largest districts serves millions of meals and launches an initiative to connect 100,000 students to high-speed internet while improving remote learning throughout the spring.

Oct. 1, 2020

Case study

Doing Something Together: Lessons from Green Dot Public Schools' COVID-19 Response Spring 2020CRPE

A big-city charter network helps students and teachers in Los Angeles navigate the crisis by creating consistency and coherence across schools.

Oct. 1, 2020

Case study

Our Families Need Us. This is What We Do: Lessons from LEARN Charter School Network's COVID-19 Response Spring 2020CRPE

A charter school network serving the Chicago area finds social support and improved communication are crucial to connecting with families during remote learning.

Oct. 1, 2020

Case study

Keeping Learning on Track in a Crisis: Lessons from Roaring Fork School District's COVID-19 Response Spring 2020CRPE

A diverse rural district high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains took care of families first, then focused instruction on a common curriculum of essentials.