Current Projects

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 Project (LEEP)

What is LEEP?

The Leading for Equity and Excellence Project (LEEP) builds the capacity of state boards of education to lead systemic equity transformation. LEEP professional learning events offer participants the opportunity to gain the skills they need to promote equity and equality through state policy development and implementation.

Why is LEEP important?

Almost daily, policymakers are reminded of the role that race and culture play in our society, yet they often lack opportunities for open, honest dialogue about the impact of race and culture on education. This lack of communication is one reason the education system continues to struggle to close the achievement gap and eliminate racial disparities.

With the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, the primary responsibility for ensuring educational equity was shifted to state policymakers. Likewise, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) also shifted in order to sharpen its focus on equity and excellence. LEEP represents the next level of NASBE’s commitment to promote educational equity for all students by helping state boards build their capacity to recognize and address inequities based on race and culture in meaningful, systemic ways.

State boards participating in LEEP will learn to apply an equity lens to policymaking using a common vocabulary and protocol for evaluating their equity work. Participants will also increase their confidence and skill to engage in meaningful conversations about the impact of race, equity, and equality on academic achievement.

How can state board members participate in LEEP?

During the 2018 pilot year, LEEP will offer two channels of participation for equity leadership training: the LEEP National Cohort and the D.C. State Board of Education Pilot. Each program will provide state board members with an opportunity to share their thoughts on a variety of education issues that impact all students, particularly students of color and students from low-income communities. Through interactive learning activities and thought-provoking conversations that focus on race, equity, and equality, participants will deepen their critical consciousness, learn about other cultural perspectives, and develop the confidence to lead systemic equity transformation.

The LEEP National Cohort is designed for individual board members who are looking for a network of colleagues from around the country to share their passion and commitment to advance equity. The cohort will have three in-person meetings this year in June, August, and October. The October meeting will convene members at NASBE’s Annual Conference in Denver where they will have an opportunity to share their work and engage in courageous conversations about equity with association members. Members of the cohort will be selected based on their leadership experience, commitment to equity, and interest in exploring the impact of race and culture on education.

For more information about the LEEP National Cohort, or if your board would like to participate in piloting the equity training strategy, please contact Kimberly Charis, NASBE’s director of school climate, discipline, and equity.

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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

Policymaking

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

Policymaking

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