Watch this space for details about this year’s conference sessions.
This year’s conference theme is “Bridging the Divide.” Far too often, political or partisan differences become a roadblock to achieving better student outcomes and ensuring that all students thrive in school, work, and life. Our students deserve education leaders who honestly address our most persistent and challenging issues and view them as opportunities to relentlessly pursue excellent, equitable, and innovative solutions.
This year’s Legislative Conference will cover such topics as building state capacity to advance equity and excellence, preparing students to succeed in the future workplace, advancing equitable student-based funding systems, and supporting our great teachers and other school leaders.
The goals of this year’s Legislative Conference are:
General Session: Insights and Lessons Learned from Former White House Education Advisors
This panel discussion gives an inside look into federal policymaking, covering how state leaders can inform and shape federal policy, strategies to build bipartisan consensus, and lessons learned from implementation of previous Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorizations.
(Panelists: Andrew Rotherham, Bellwether Education Partners (White House Domestic Policy Council, President William J. Clinton); John Bailey, American Enterprise Institute and Walton Family Foundation (White House Domestic Policy Council, President George W. Bush); Roberto Rodriguez, Teach Plus (White House Domestic Policy Council, President Barack Obama); Moderator: Lauren Camera, Education Reporter, U.S. News & World Report)
Concurrent Session: Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs
This session explores labor market trends and the skills students need to succeed in a changing economy. The panel will highlight relevant research findings and practical experiences of state board members engaged in workforce development.
(Panelists: Amar Kumar, Pearson Education; Ryan Reyna, Education Strategy Group (ESG); Moderator: Sandy Boyd, Seek Common Ground)
Concurrent Session: Working with Governors and Legislators: Tips and Strategies
The session offers tips and strategies for boards to use when engaging governors, legislators, and their staff. Experts give practical advice on working with your counterparts in state government to achieve a shared vision for education.
(Panelists: Matt Jordan, Education Commission of the States (ECS); Stephen Parker, National Governors Association (NGA); Michelle Exstrom, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL); Moderator: Daarel Burnette II, Education Week)
Concurrent Session: Principal Leadership for Early Learning
States are increasingly focused on early education and have recognized that strong principal leadership is essential to supporting great instruction for young children. This panel highlights the skills and knowledge principals need to provide instructional leadership for teachers of young children and the systems states are putting in place to cultivate and support those principals.
(Panelists: Joseph Cullen, Branch Brook Elementary School, Newark, NJ; Elizabeth Alves, Tennessee Department of Education; Lula Ford, Illinois State Board of Education; Moderator: Elliot Regenstein, Foresight Law + Policy)
Concurrent Session: Diving Deeper into Teacher Shortage Data: Implications for Teacher Preparation Programs
This panel explores teacher shortages, gives board members questions to ask as this topic arises on their agendas, and identifies ways to build a pipeline of diverse, high-quality teachers. Speakers will highlight research, recent state actions, and implications for teacher preparation programs.
(Panelists: Kate Walsh, National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ); Denise Pearson, State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO); Moderator: Donna Johnson, Delaware State Board of Education)
General Session: Building State Capacity for Equity
This session explores how state board members can develop the capacity of state and local agencies to address persistent opportunity and achievement gaps. The panel covers ESSA, engagement with community organizations, and empowerment of leaders.
(Introductory Remarks: Natasha O’Dell Archer, Opportunity Institute; Panelists: Lillian Lowery, Education Trust; Ross Wiener, Aspen Institute; Eric Thomas, Georgia Chief Turnaround Officer; Moderator: Kristen Amundson, President and CEO, NASBE)
General Session: Advancing Equitable School Funding
This session tees up key questions state boards can ask to foster more equitable distribution of resources among schools. The session covers ESSA’s fiscal transparency requirement, ways states can use this information to engage in honest conversations about inequities, and resource strategies that improve school performance.
(Panelists: Karen Hawley Miles, Education Resource Strategies; Ary Amerikaner, Education Trust)