Policy Updates

Policy Updates are two-page briefs on changes in federal education policy, state policy impacts, and trends in education.

Seven Questions Boards Should Ask About Their ESSA State Plans

Cover Image for Seven Questions Boards Should Ask about State Plans. Click image to download report.In April and September, states will file comprehensive plans for how they will spend federal funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Although state education agencies (SEAs) have the primary responsibility for developing and filing the state plan, many state boards of education have statutory authority for carrying out elements of the plan, and most will take a formal vote on their plans before they are sent to the U.S. Department of Education. This NASBE Policy Update lays out seven big questions board members should have answered before they vote.

Seven Questions Boards Should Ask About Their ESSA State Plans

ESSA Stakeholder Engagement: Early Challenges and Promising Practices

This NASBE policy update identifies five common challenges in engaging this extensive list of stakeholders, and highlights several promising practices states are using to address them.

ESSA Stakeholder Engagement: Early Challenges and Promising Practices

Advancing the Early Learning Workforce through State Policies

This NASBE policy update examines the US preschool workforce skills gap and outlines ways state boards can strengthen policies to advance the early education workforce and ensure a high-quality education for preschool learners.

Advancing the Early Learning Workforce through State Policies

The Impact of the 2016 Elections on State Boards of Education

The election of 2016 is generally acknowledged to be a “change” election. Voters chose a new president and ended years of divided  government by giving control of the House, the Senate, and the White House to Republicans. Did the “change” message affect the selection of new members of state boards of education?

The Impact of the 2016 Elections on State Boards of Education

Early Care and Education Legislation in 2016

This policy update provides a rundown of state legislative action on early education in 2016, plus important trends.

Early Care and Education Legislation in 2016

ESSA and At-Risk Student Populations: A NASBE Policy Update Series

ESSA provides opportunities to act on behalf of five at-risk student populations: students with disabilities, migrant youth, students in the foster care system, English language learners, and homeless youth. This NASBE policy update series suggests strategies that state boards of education can use to help these at-risk student populations.

ESSA and At-Risk Student Populations: A NASBE Policy Update Series

States Move toward Computer Science Standards

This NASBE Policy Update outlines what states need to consider as they develop computer science standards and improve instruction, highlighting several promising state efforts already under way.

States Move toward Computer Science Standards

State Strategies for Summer Nutrition

Children with limited or uncertain access to meals experience more health-related behavioral and academic challenges than their peers. Federally funded summer nutrition programs are designed to ensure low-income students receive healthy meals all summer long. This policy update explains what state boards can do to expand the reach of summer nutrition programs.

State Strategies for Summer Nutrition

New Opportunities to Support Student Health under ESSA

This NASBE Policy Update explains how states can take advantage of ESSA’s provisions to more fully integrate health into education policy and practice.

New Opportunities to Support Student Health under ESSA

Career Readiness and CTE in a Post-NCLB World

Despite policymakers’ efforts to integrate and align core academics with career technical education, the two disciplines remain stubbornly separate in many states. But there are ways states can propel students toward postsecondary success by viewing academic and career programs as a single track.

Career Readiness and CTE in a Post-NCLB World

Trends in Student Data Privacy Bills in 2016

In “Trends in Student Data Privacy Bills in 2016,” NASBE Director of Education Data and Technology Amelia Vance describes key elements in education data legislation introduced or passed this year and notes some states to watch.

Trends in Student Data Privacy Bills in 2016

Flexibility for Streamlining Tests

States can take advantage of existing funding and new ESSA guidance to ensure the quality of their assessment frameworks. This policy update highlights two states—Illinois and Tennessee—that have taken the initiative to evaluate their systems.

Flexibility for Streamlining Tests

Take It Off the Consent Agenda: Nine Questions State Boards of Education Should Ask about State Assessment Systems

State boards of education have the primary authority over choosing summative assessments in 31 states. This policy update urges comprehensive state board involvement in the development of state assessment systems and lays out nine big questions board members should address before they adopt a new state assessment system

Take It Off the Consent Agenda: Nine Questions State Boards of Education Should Ask about State Assessment Systems

NASBE Standards-Based Leadership Framework: A Policy Update Series

This series of NASBE policy updates highlights the importance of consistency across policies to ensure effective, efficient learning systems and successful ESSA implementation.

NASBE Standards-Based Leadership Framework: A Policy Update Series

State Policy's Role in Reversing Trend toward Punitive Discipline

State boards of education have the potential to stem the school to prison pipeline through reforming punitive discipline policy. Using their convening power and policymaking authority, state boards can coordinate the efforts of educators, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officials to create more equitable measures and improve school climate. This NASBE policy update examines how state boards can transform policy and keep students on successful pathways.

State Policy's Role in Reversing Trend toward Punitive Discipline

Beyond College Readiness: College Awareness as a First Step

This policy update highlights two state boards of education—Washington and Idaho—that have proactively sought to prepare students better for continuing their educations after high school.

Beyond College Readiness: College Awareness as a First Step

Shift in Emphasis in New Standards for Educational Leaders

This NASBE Policy Update compares the new Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL), with the ISLLC standards and outlines what states will need to consider as they implement changes instituted by the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Shift in Emphasis in New Standards for Educational Leaders

Promoting Student Achievement through Improved Health Policy

Education and health outcomes are linked. Yet despite a growing body of evidence tying health to academic achievement, many school systems have not established and coordinated policies, processes, and practices that will improve both health and learning of all students. State boards of education have a role to play in facilitating this effort.

Promoting Student Achievement through Improved Health Policy

Addiction Trends Require States to Change School Medication Policies

State boards of education have a long history of establishing policies to govern safe medication administration, but as new and potentially controversial school health emergencies arise, state boards will need to nimbly amend and expand school emergency medication policies. This policy update highlights states that have recently acted.

Addiction Trends Require States to Change School Medication Policies

Aligning Leadership Preparation Programs with Student Learning Standards

This Policy Update outlines the importance of aligning principal preparation programs with the high expectations set for our school leaders and the policy levers that may help facilitate this integration.

Aligning Leadership Preparation Programs with Student Learning Standards

Aligning Teacher Preparation with Student Learning Standards

This Policy Update highlights the mismatch between the skills taught in many teacher preparation programs and those needed to help students achieve rigorous learning standards. State boards of education have a role to play here.

Aligning Teacher Preparation with Student Learning Standards

Coordinating an Improved Response to Allergic Reactions in School

Allergic reactions in school settings still threaten the lives of students with alarming frequency. This Policy Update outlines state and federal requirements for stocking epinephrine and recommendations for state board members to ensure proper implementation.

Coordinating an Improved Response to Allergic Reactions in School

Opt Out Policies by State

States vary in how they respond to parents’ requests to opt children out of standardized testing. This Policy Update compiles information on each state’s response and links to guidance documents.

Opt Out Policies by State

Responding to Opt Out Requests: The Opportunity for State Boards

As parents increasingly ask to opt their children out of standardized tests, state boards of education are sometimes unsure whether and how to respond. This Policy Update highlights successful policy strategies for addressing opt out requests and how state boards can use this opportunity to communicate the benefits of testing and improve the public’s understanding of test-based accountability.

Responding to Opt Out Requests: The Opportunity for State Boards

Trends in State Legislation on Student Data Privacy

“Trends in State Legislation on Student Data Privacy” details the ways in which state legislatures across the country have enhanced protections for student data and expanded the role of state boards in protecting that data. It describes several key elements in legislation introduced or passed this year, and notes several exemplary states.

Trends in State Legislation on Student Data Privacy

Will New Teacher Equity Plans Get Closer to the Mark?

According to the US Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection, nearly 96 percent of our nation’s public school teachers are licensed and certified. So why are over a half a million low-income and minority students still being taught in schools with the highest percentages of unqualified and inexperienced teachers? A new NASBE Policy Update explores teacher equity and why state policymakers need to start paying closer attention.

Will New Teacher Equity Plans Get Closer to the Mark?

A Tale of Two Federal Student Data Privacy Bills

“A Tale of Two Federal Student Data Privacy Bills” measures the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act (SDPPRA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) discussion draft across several areas – ease of implementation, transparency, penalties, data-technology balance, and restrictions on third-parties.

A Tale of Two Federal Student Data Privacy Bills

Regulating Student Data Privacy: Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

In “Regulating Student Data Privacy,” NASBE Director of Education Data and Technology Amelia Vance explains why concerns over student data privacy have dominated the headlines, and what states—and state boards of education in particular—are doing to ensure the safety of student data.

Regulating Student Data Privacy: Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

Navigate Our Resources

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up today to receive NASBE news in your email inbox. Enter your email address below.