Policy Updates are two-page briefs on changes in federal education policy, state policy impacts, and trends in education.
Policy Updates are two-page briefs on changes in federal education policy, state policy impacts, and trends in education.
To help state boards of education and other policymakers learn how to communicate most effectively on policies related to SEL, NASBE commissioned Edge Research to conduct a survey of community influencers in Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, and Washington to gauge their understanding of SEL and their support for embedding SEL in K-12 instruction. These five states were part of a state network convened by NASBE in 2018 to examine the successes and challenges of implementing SEL through state education systems and develop state policies that fit local contexts.
According to new survey research from NASBE, influential stakeholders view social and emotional learning (SEL) favorably and are primed for conversations with state boards of education working to advance SEL policies. While most community influencers agree that SEL can produce many benefits, they also expressed reservations around standards, teacher support, and labeling of students, the survey finds.
Read key insights from the survey in “Gauging Support for Social and Emotional Skill Building in School.” Find the full survey results here.
During the 2015–16 school year, about one in seven students was chronically absent, missing at least 10 percent of school days. An early warning sign of academic risk and school dropout, chronic absence predicts school failure more reliably than test scores. To understand the drivers of chronic absence, state boards of education should examine data on student health in their state. This policy update suggests questions for state boards to ask and actions they can take to address chronic absence.
Twenty states and territories have at least one student board member on their state boards of education. “Involving Students in State Education Governance” outlines the advantages to having a student at the state board table, not the least of which is having direct input from the very people that education policies are meant to benefit, increasing stakeholder engagement, and developing civically engaged youth leaders.
In this policy update, author Amelia Vance explores data protections for school directory information. She argues students do not have the right to attend school anonymously, but they do have a right to have their information protected and used responsibly by local and state education agencies. State boards can lead on this issue by striking the right balance.
In 2018, state boards of education discussed and adopted policies to increase accountability for student data protection and to increase transparency of schoolwide data through data dashboards. This analysis highlights changes in state policy that cover data protection requirements, test administration and security, records retention, and confidentiality protocols.
Although the federal election results have attracted most of the post-election commentary, it is at the state level where the change will be long lasting. With the election of 20 new governors, 12 of whom are expected to appoint dozens of new board members early in their terms, 21 newly elected state board of education members, and 2 new state education chiefs, we can expect to see significant shifts in both the makeup of state boards and in the policies they will adopt over the next two years. This analysis examines how leadership changes brought about by the 2018 elections will affect state boards.
With the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states can include a student growth indicator as a measure of school quality in their accountability systems. Most of them do. Nine states also saw this as an opportunity and added a separate growth measure for the bottom quartile and quintile of students.
Often touted as key to reducing overlap and inefficiency and increasing policy alignment, collaboration across agencies and organizations with varying jurisdictions and authority can be difficult. This NASBE policy update explores how NASBE, the National League of Cities (NLC), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) built up the nation’s early childhood education (ECE) workforce through an effective collaboration.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) calls on states to take advantage of new opportunities to combat uneven access to quality instruction in world languages—a key component of a well-rounded education.
This NASBE policy update discusses ways state boards can bridge the divide between English-only and non-English speakers by promoting policies to increase world language workforce capacity and better align language programs to communities and national need.
As the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity of U.S. classrooms for young children continues to increase, it is more important than ever for early childhood educators to be prepared to meet the needs of the one in three U.S. children age 8 and under who are dual language learners (DLLs). High-quality early childhood education (ECE) programs can help ready these children for kindergarten and for learning in a new language, but their pre-K enrollment lags behind their non-DLL peers. This NASBE policy update urges state boards of education to adopt a vision for supporting young DLLs that includes developing the cultural and linguistic competence of the ECE workforce.
An effective, well-prepared teacher workforce is central to students’ mastery of deeper learning skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. This NASBE policy update urges state boards of education to invigorate relicensure policies by embracing multiple tiers that support teachers throughout their careers and implementing requirements such as work portfolios, individual learning plans, and microcredentials.
An effective, well-prepared teacher workforce is central to students’ mastery of deeper learning skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. This NASBE policy update suggests embedding philosophy instruction in teacher preparation programs to enable teachers to model skills they want students to acquire.
Teachers face many challenges in the first years of their careers. Without support and guidance from experienced, highly qualified teacher mentors, the demands of the classroom can overwhelm novice teachers. It comes as no surprise then that one-third of teachers leave the profession within their first five years.
A new NASBE policy update draws on research, state examples, and the author’s own experience to suggest ways states can better support novice teachers while combating high turnover.
States, districts, and schools across the country are forming “networked improvement communities” to address problems of practice, make changes based on data, and make connections across schools. These networks build capacity to improve schools, ensure effective change processes are in place, and make it possible to bring innovations to scale. This NASBE policy update explores how statewide networked improvement communities work and how state boards of education can nurture them.
For decades, state boards of education have been developing policies to deliver quality education to all students and overseeing implementation of those policies. Yet students still attend schools that often are racially segregated and underresourced and receive instruction of uneven quality.
Whether they are reviewing teacher preparation programs, setting rigorous academic standards, or examining exclusionary discipline practices, much depends on the state board’s collective capacity to lead in advancing equity.
This NASBE policy update offers state boards a means to address these issues through structured discussions of equity, the achievement gap, and what state boards need to lead for equity and excellence.
For students whose families and friends do not have college-going experience to share, applying to college can be challenging. School counselors can fill the gap, but in many schools—especially those serving students most in need—counselors are spread thin.
This NASBE policy update explores the ways state boards of education can address the challenges school counselors face and better support student transitions after high school.
This NASBE policy update explores the unique challenges that military-connected students face and how state boards of education can ensure the success and well-being of these students through effective policies on data sharing and training in data management.
Positive school climate has been linked to higher test scores, graduation rates, and fewer disciplinary referrals. Yet state policy discussions on student supports often fail to address a key lever for improving school climate: robust school-based mental health services.
This NASBE policy update outlines challenges to delivering such services and ways states can leverage key provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to improve students’ chances for academic success by providing mental health services.
States have incorporated a variety of “fifth indicators” in their ESSA plans, including: career and technical education, school climate and student discipline, social and emotional learning, chronic absenteeism, and access to high-level course work. This policy update series explores the pros and cons of each and offers key considerations for state boards that are refining their plans for September submission.
This NASBE Policy Update lays out seven big questions board members should have answered before they vote on their state’s ESSA plan.
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.
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.
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?
This policy update provides a rundown of state legislative action on early education in 2016, plus important trends.
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.
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.
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.
This NASBE Policy Update explains how states can take advantage of ESSA’s provisions to more fully integrate health into education policy and practice.
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.
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.
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.
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
This series of NASBE policy updates highlights the importance of consistency across policies to ensure effective, efficient learning systems and successful ESSA implementation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.