Current Projects

Civic Engagement Champions Award

Middle school teachers play a particularly strong role in boosting civic knowledge and engagement, helping students become active, responsible citizens. NASBE’s Civic Engagement Champions (CEC) award program honors middle school teachers who promote their students’ active citizenship.

With the support of the Frank Islam Institute for 21st Century Citizenship (FII), NASBE will highlight the work of four outstanding middle school teachers who are fostering civic engagement.  National recognition and $5,000 awards will be made at NASBE’s Annual Conference in October to teachers from four states—Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, which represent NASBE’s four regional membership areas. We plan to expand the program in future years and hope eventually to operate in all 50 states.

“The civic engagement awards will be presented to teachers who are making a difference in the classroom and beyond by empowering students and making their schools and communities better.  These teachers are on the front lines of creating 21st century citizens,” says Frank Islam, founder of FII. The Institute was created to address an increasing civic engagement deficit in the United States and around the world.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport, and state leaders take very seriously their responsibility to develop students who are prepared to play an active role in our democracy,” says Robert Hull, president and CEO of NASBE. “Civic Education Champions is one critical way to raise up talented teachers who encourage students to become more active citizens.”

Read the full press release on NASBE’s Civic Engagement Champions (CEC) award program. Read about our 2019 winners here

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College and Career Ready Standards

NASBE’s work on high standards dates back to 1997, when the organization adopted the following policy statement

“States should create academic standards in all key subject areas at all levels, Pre-K to 12, including standards for both content and student performance. Key subject areas include language arts, mathematics, science, technology, citizenship, fine arts, health, and foreign languages/cultures. State standards should be measurable, broadly consistent with national standards, and regularly reviewed and improved.”

Since that time much has been learned about standards implementation. The organization’s support of college-and-career-ready standards is an extension of a long-held belief that one of the most important responsibilities of state boards of education is to develop, monitor, and assess the highest academic standards for all students.


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Deeper Learning

NASBE’s Deeper Learning Initiative provides state policymakers the essential tools to make smart decisions on ways to prepare more students for college, career, and civic success. The deeper learning principles build on a larger body of work that includes “twenty- first century skills,” “habits of mind”, “college and career readiness,” and “student-centered learning.” Deeper learning competencies encompass the ability to master academic content; think critically and solve complex problems; work collaboratively; communicate effectively; and learn how to learn. The goal of NASBE’s project is to support states as they facilitate educational experiences that deliver on both the knowledge and skills students need to succeed. This project is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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Early Childhood Education

NASBE has been working on Early Childhood Education for two decades. From the report “Right From the Start” to the most recent “Promoting Quality In PreK-Grade 3 Classrooms”, NASBE works closely with state board of education members, state education and other agencies charged with administering early childhood education programs to help states create an infrastructure to support the delivery of quality services to children and their families.

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Education Privacy

The project on Education Data Privacy focuses on supporting state boards of education seeking to create or implement stronger state privacy policies through publications, webinars, collaboration with other privacy and education organizations, in-state and regional meetings, and sessions at our national meetings.

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Education Technology

NASBE’s project on Education Technology focuses on supporting state boards of education seeking to pass policies that will support learning through the implementation and use of new technology.

NASBE has been a strong believer in the possibility of education technology to improve student learning for almost two decades. NASBE passed a public education position on e-learning in 2001, advocating that state policymakers empower families by integrating digital technology in the classroom and insure equity to help avoid the “digital divide” that is discussed even today. NASBE has continued our leadership in this area with other public education positions over the past 10 years, weighing in on instructional materials in the digital age; digital citizenship and literacy; state longitudinal data systems; educators and next generation learning; and state technology planning.

NASBE’s various projects all integrate aspects of technology in their work; for example, talking about college and career ready students, it is impossible to not also discuss the technological skills that are essential to the success of today’s students. Many of our other existing projects, including our deeper learning work (which frequently touches on personalized learning that can be enhanced through technology) and our education data work have multiple intersections with education technology.

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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into federal law. A reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), ESSA returns great authority to the states, and state boards of education play an essential role in determining their state’s course for implementation. NASBE is working to help state board members understand the new law and provide them with the right tools and information they need to make decisions that can ensure all students receive an excellent education. We have compiled a number of helpful resources from NASBE and other organizations for anyone wanting to learn more about ESSA.

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Leading for Equity and Excellence Program (LEEP)

What is LEEP?

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) established the Leading for Equity and Excellence Program (LEEP) as a professional development resource for state policymakers committed to advancing equity in education. LEEP’s comprehensive educational programming and technical assistance builds the capacity of state boards to ensure equal access to excellent learning opportunities for all students.


Why is LEEP important?

Almost daily, education policymakers are reminded of the role that race and culture play in our society, yet they often lack opportunities for open, honest dialogue about their influence on teaching and learning.

With passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, the primary responsibility for ensuring education equity shifted to state policymakers. Likewise, NASBE also shifted in order to sharpen its focus on equity and excellence. LEEP represents the next level of NASBE’s commitment to promote high-quality education for all students by building the capacity of state board members to recognize and address inequities in meaningful, systemic ways.


What does LEEP offer?

LEEP National Cohort

The LEEP National Cohort is for individual members looking for a shared learning experience with a diverse community of professionals from around the country. Participants learn to apply an equity lens to policymaking, engage in courageous conversations about race, and build their capacity to address systems, institutional practices, and cultural perceptions that keep students of varied backgrounds and circumstances from accessing excellent learning opportunities.

During LEEP’s seven-week course, participants learn to:

  • IDENTIFY and engage personal core values to become a more effective leader;
  • INTERPRET multiple perspectives while recognizing their own racial and cultural biases;
  • EXAMINE the influence of political ideologies, cultural perceptions, and economic structures on public education; and
  • DESIGN and promote state-level strategies to remove structural barriers and close achievement gaps.

LEEP Technical Assistance

LEEP Technical Assistance provides targeted support to state boards leading systemic equity transformation. Services are offered through direct consultation with one of our subject matter experts and delivered through one-on-one discussions, small-group facilitation, or customized online training.


Contact Us

Whether you need equity technical assistance or have questions about the LEEP National Cohort, we’ve got the answers. Let us know how we can help.

Kimberly Charis
Director, Leading for Equity and Excellence Program
National Association of State Board of Education
Tel: (703) 740-4832


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Nutrition and Physical Activity

NASBE’s Nutrition and Physical Activity work provides research-based capacity-building assistance and information to education leaders to help schools establish, maintain, and evaluate healthy school nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention environments.

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Center for Safe and Healthy Schools

NASBE’s Center for Safe and Healthy Schools (CSHS) is a resource for information on enhancing student learning and achievement through healthy school policies. The CSHS is the home for NASBE’s School Health Policy Database and the following additional areas of activity: Nutrition and Physical Activity; Epinephrine and Allergies; School Climate and Discipline.

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School Climate & Discipline

State Boards of Education have unique opportunities to promote a safe and supportive learning environment for every student. NASBE’s work in this area focuses on strengthening the capacity of state boards of education to promote effective alternatives to exclusionary discipline, oversee implementation of policies that improve school climate, and reduce the number of students referred to law enforcement and juvenile justice systems.

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School Leadership

Recognizing the importance of school leadership in education, NASBE and The Wallace Foundation are extending their partnership in the exploration of education leadership in 2012. NASBE work will continue to explore leadership through the lens of state policy.

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Current Study Groups

Career Readiness

NASBE is facilitating a year-long study group “The Second ‘C’: Ensuring All Students Graduate College and Career Ready” (2015) to focus on effective programs and policies designed to ensure students graduate from high school career ready. The study group includes state board of education members from across the nation, and is chaired by Mireya Reith, a member of the Arkansas State Board of Education.

Among the issues being explored:

  • Student readiness. Data from ACT and other sources clearly indicate that today’s students do not leave high school with the skills and knowledge they need for success in college or a career. What are the gaps? How can schools help fill those gaps?
  • Funding. The best career education programs offer students opportunities for personalized learning. This is not inexpensive, and with federal funding always uncertain, states may struggle to provide a steady funding stream.
  • Recruiting and retaining strong staff members. It is a challenge to recruit and retain highly effective educators in career fields. Frequently, individuals with strong technical skills may lack the required coursework to earn a teaching certificate. What are best practices in this area? How can state policies on teacher licensure support CTE?
  • Partnerships. Some of the best career training programs are offered by industry and labor unions. How can schools take advantage of this expertise? Can states develop policies that will foster stronger partnerships?
  • Meeting diverse educational needs. How can states start to bridge the gap between “college-ready” learning and “career-ready” learning? If the goal is to have all students leave high school prepared for both college and a career, how will state policies need to be adjusted?

The study group will release a full report of their findings in October at NASBE’s annual conference. The report will provide state boards with timely research and suggest principles by which to craft policies.

To learn more about the Career Readiness Study Group, please contact Francis Eberle.


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School Leadership

NASBE is facilitating a year-long NASBE study group on school leadership: “Successful Leaders for Successful Schools: The Changing Role of Education Leaders.” (2015) The study group is chaired by William “Bill” White, a member of the West Virginia State Board of Education.

NASBE conducts annual study groups to provide professional development to members of state boards of education, set organizational direction and priorities, and inform the state education policymaking process on key issues. This year, NASBE is partnering with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) to facilitate the leadership study group. Previous study groups have explored rural education, 21st century learning and technology use in the classroom, strengthening the teaching profession, deeper learning, and career technical education.

Study group members will examine:

  • The best models for state-level reform in preparing and recruiting strong school leaders.
  • How best to support and retain strong leaders — from promising “grow your own” models to enhanced professional development systems.
  • Data, studies, and existing state policies that help effective principals ensure all students who graduate high school are ready for college, careers, and civic life.
  • Funding approaches that effectively support teachers and ways state policy can level the funding playing field for school administrators.
  • Strategies for encouraging and supporting a progressive “pipeline to principalship” for teachers aspiring to be school leaders.
  • How states can help principals leverage limited resources and funding to meet diverse student needs and capabilities.

At the completion of their work, the study group will  issue a comprehensive report with key insights, findings, and policy recommendations for relevant stakeholders, including members of Congress, federal officials, governors, chief state school officers, and local education policymakers.

Form more information about this study group contact Robert Hull.

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Board Development

NASBE provides a number of services aimed at building capacity for boards and developing boardsmanship among its members.

Board Development

Government Affairs

Here you will find education-related information as it becomes available from Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and the U.S. Dept. of Education.

Government Affairs


Here you will find resources that relate to policymaking including theories, techniques and best practices. Click below to view our policymaking materials.


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