Each year NASBE gives new state board members the opportunity to gather with experienced board members and staff at the New State Board Member Institute. NASBE helps support these new members by covering the costs of two members from each state. Held every summer in Arlington, Virginia, the Institute is designed to equip new board members with skills, knowledge, and insider tips that will enable them to be more effective board members.
Always one of NASBE’s most popular conferences, the program includes case studies in policy development, “how to” sessions on dealing with the media and handling state board business; special current issues sessions; information on how NASBE can assist state boards and individual members; and many opportunities for questions and answers and group participation.
NASBE continues to be a leader in the education community because of its role in convening people and organizations to explore the national issues and problems facing our children. NASBE uses study groups, task forces, commissions and networks to investigate the issues and make reports and policy recommendations which are published by NASBE. Two study groups are meeting in 2011.
The study group for 2011 focuses on the preparation of new teachers and ongoing support for experienced teachers to assure a new level of capacity for addressing the academic needs of contemporary students. The “Preparation, Evaluation, Continuation, and Compensation: A State Policy Agenda to Enhance the Teaching Profession” study group will examine three primary categories as they relate to teacher policy. The first area is preparation and continuous support and development for practicing teachers. How teachers are trained and supported as they advance in the profession are at the core of good teaching and the study group will explore the policy questions that must be addressed to build and expand the best teaching force in the world. A second focus will be on teacher evaluations. Measuring what matters most as it relates to student performance is a central theme that state board members have raised as a major policy concern. The third area of interest to Boards is teacher compensation. The group will explore the subject of compensation as it relates to teacher effectiveness, mobility and student performance and the role state education policymakers should play.
In 2011, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) joins forces with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to sponsor a Joint Legislative Conference for state board of education members, chief state school officers, and other state department of education staff from across the country. Conference participants will engage the Congress and the U.S. Department of Education in discussion and action on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) implementation, specifically on education reform measures such as accountability, state capacity-building, educator and leader effectiveness, and school improvement. Participants schedule “Hill visits” to meet personally with their Congressional delegation to discuss state-specific education issues. Following their personal visits, NASBE/CCSSO staff debriefs with meeting participants and further refine strategies for impacting federal legislation so that it is better integrated with ongoing state initiatives. This conference is particularly significant in 2011 as a new Congress (112th Congress) works on ESEA reauthorization and as the U.S. Department of Education continues to drive reform through Race to the Top and other funding opportunities.
NASBE’s Annual Conference focuses sessions on the latest thinking across a wide range of education topics, on the professional development of board members and on the formulation of state education policy. The Annual Conference brings the challenges of shaping the future of education to board members through a multitude of means, including small group discussions, live and video presentations, seminars, and large group interactions. Held every October, the Annual Conference also features the release of important reports, presentation of awards (including Policy Leader of the Year, Friend of Education, and the Distinguished Service Awards), the annual business meeting which includes the election for President-elect, and ample opportunity to meet with colleagues in both formal and informal settings. In October 2011, we will be meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
Topical meetings were created to make the national organization more accessible to its members. The meetings, held in different geographical locations around the country, bring in experts on specific issues to provide the latest information and stimulate discussion. A state-team format is encouraged. In early 2010, highly informative meetings in each of NASBE’s four regions were held to discuss the Common Core Standards. Through partnerships with a diverse group of stakeholders, state board members have been able to participate in conferences such as the Army education meeting in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in September.
Increasingly, NASBE is using technology to bring state board members together through webinars and conference calls. State Board chairs met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan via conference call in 2010. Webinars are held throughout the year by various NASBE projects and as part of the work of our study groups.
Each year, NASBE holds congressional briefings to update Congress on the findings and recommendations of our study groups and projects. In 2011, three briefings are planned.
NASBE has partnered with the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide guidance and assistance to state and local education policymakers and practitioners. Our goal is to encourage safe, healthy, and nurturing school environments for all of the nation’s children and youth.