Manna’s research and teaching explore policy implementation, federalism, bureaucracy, and applied research methods. His main focus is K-12 education. In this broad area he has published work on federal initiatives, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Race to the Top program, state standards and student performance, school choice, and education governance. He has informed contemporary policy debates by briefing federal, state, and local education officials about these matters, and by working on projects with think tanks from across the political spectrum, such as the Center for American Progress, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Center on Education Policy.
Presents a set of considerations about matters including potential policy levers to help policymakers improve state policy on school leadership.
Considers the potential effects of political, administrative, and fiscal centralization on student outcomes. Finds that strong relationships exist between student outcomes and the degree of political and administrative centralization in a state, and also discovers that the degree of centralization is not consistently related to the advancement of excellence and equity, suggesting that apparent trade-offs may exist.