Study Groups

NASBE conducts annual study groups to provide professional development to members of state boards of education, set organization direction and priorites, and inform the state education policymaking process on key issues.

About Study Groups

The NASBE Board of Directors chooses two topics each year. State Board of Education members from across the country participate in a year long examination of a particular issue through three meetings in January, March, and June. Throughout these meetings, board members have the opportunity to hear from experts, practitioners, researchers and fellow policy makers on the issue as they develop recommendations for policy action for fellow board members.

View Study Group Archive

In order to create a deeper understanding of these issues, the NASBE Student Engagement Study Group will meet on three occasions to discuss different dimensions of student engagement and what state boards can do to further student engagement in their states:

First Meeting: January 24-25, 2014

Second Meeting: March 14-15, 2014

Third Meeting: Methods of Engagement, June 20-21, 2014

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Meeting One: Jan 24-25, 2014 at Marriott Crystal City, Arlington, VA

Please find the agenda here.

Presenters: Robert Klein, Andy Smarick, Jenelle Leonard and Susan Headden. Please find presenters’ bio here.

In the first meeting, state board members had chosen the most concerning issues in rural education that they want to discuss in the study group. NASBE summarized those issues into a map, which you can find here.

Meeting Two: March 14-15, 2014 at Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, Arlington, VA

Please find the agenda here.

Presenters: Ron Daley, Rick Gaisford, Robert Mahaffey, Jane E. West. Please find presenters’ bio here.

NASBE compiled materials for the board members to better understand the issues discussed in the study group. Please find the materials below:

recruiting teachers1. Recruiting and Retaining High-Quality Teachers in Rural Areas (2003)

Attracting teachers to rural schools and keeping them there has long been a challenge for rural school districts. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) raises the stakes for recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers and presents unique challenges for rural school administrators. This Policy Brief examines the issue from a policy perspective and suggests strategies for addressing the problem.


Broadband Imperative Summary

2. Fox, C., Waters, J., Fletcher, G., & Levin, D. (2012). The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to Address K-12 Education Infrastructure Needs. Washington, DC: State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA).

It is a simple fact that access to high-speed broadband is now as vital a component of K-12 school infrastructure as electricity, air conditioning, and heating. The same tools and resources that have transformed our personal,civic, and professional lives must be part of learning experiences intended to prepare today’s students for college and careers. College students rely on technology for academic success and to improve personal productivity. In the workplace, everyone from mechanics to accountants to physicians depends on technology to conduct their work, grow their businesses, and collaborate with their colleagues – both locally and globally.

incentives-case study in NC (1)3. Dorothy Hines and Kayla Mathis, 2007. North Carolina LEA Case Study: Regional Specific Incentives for Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Ensuring that every child receives a quality education is the goal of educators, parents, and community leaders throughout North Carolina. However, increasing nationwide teacher shortages has made meeting this goal a daunting task for low performing schools. In an effort to combat the repercussions of such shortages, State and local leaders are developing new teacher recruitment and retention initiatives aimed at attracting highly qualified teachers to their districts. Differential pay and teacher bonuses are methods that have been widely used by school districts to recruit teachers into low performing rural and urban schools; however, such plans are often unsuccessful on their own because they do not account for the differences between urban and rural school districts. We recommend that state and local leaders work together to develop recruitment and retention programs that incorporate the unique characteristics of the region they are targeting.

quality_teachers in NC4. Page McCullough and Jerry Johnson, Ed.D, 2007. QUALITY TEACHERS: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina’s Most Overlooked Rural Communities. A Publication of the Policy Program of the Rural School and Community Trust on behalf of the North Carolina Rural Education Working Group

This report describes, on a number of measures, the challenges facing low-wealth rural school districts in eastern North Carolina as they relate to issues of teacher quality and ensuring that their students have a good teacher in each classroom. It describes five strategies that are being used in rural areas throughout the country to respond to these challenges, and specifically what North Carolina is doing around each strategy, including: growing your own; targeting incentives; improving recruiting and hiring practices; improving school level support for teachers; and using technology. In the last part of the report, we recommend local and state level activities for each of the five strategies, and add three recommendations that, based on our experience in this state and in other rural states, would help address the pressing issue of providing all children in North Carolina the teachers they deserve.

Score5. Transforming the Rural South: A Roadmap to Improving Rural Education, 2011. State Collaborative on Reforming Education.

For our rural communities, the connection between a quality education and a vibrant, sustainable economy has never been clearer. Unemployment rates in rural communities continue to outpace state and national rates. To get the jobs of the future, even in fields like manufacturing and agriculture which have not traditionally required postsecondary education, businesses are requiring that their workers obtain higher levels of education than ever before. In the face of these challenges, it is clear that making investments in education must be part of any strategy to ensure that our region remains economically vibrant and globally competitive.

 Meeting Three: June 20-21, 2014 at Marriott Crystal City, Arlington, VA

Please find the agenda here.

Speakers’ bios.

Presentations: NASBE MartinezNASBE June 2014 Farrie

photo 3

From right to left: Dr. Z (MI), Tess Elshoff (OH), Thomas Campbell (WV), Dr. Luisa Iadeluca (NY), Nancy Perkins (ME), Mireya Reith(AR), Madhu Sidhu (MD), Francis Eberle, Acting Deputy Executive Director at NASBE, Maria Guitterez (GU), Winona Hao, Research Associate at NASBE



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NASBE Rural Education Study Group (2014)

The number of rural students enrolled in public schools is increasing both as an absolute number and a percentage of the total population – more than 1 million students. According to the 2013 Condition of Education report by the U.S. Department of Education roughly one third (32,000) of the approximately 100,000 public school in the United States on 2010-11 were located in rural areas. This is greater than the number of schools in the suburbs (27,000).  The enrollment in these schools is growing due to an influx of young parents, immigrants and minorities who have been attracted by jobs in agriculture and energy.

There is evidence that student in rural schools can thrive as they are likely to have smaller classes with high levels of community support. There are many examples of successful rural schools. At the same time the high numbers of low-income rural students tend to have lower student achievement.

It is within this context, this NASBE study group will investigate rural education. This includes convening three in-person, two day meetings of state board members, panelists and experts, writing and disseminating a report with policy implications about rural education in this country at the NASBE Annual Meeting in October 2014 and to all state board members in the United States.

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NASBE Student Engagement Study Group (2014)

Most students start school with a strong desire to learn. But over the years, that desire seems to wane. One study of 1,500 classrooms found that in 85 percent, fewer than half of all students were “engaged” in learning. In other words, only 15 percent of these classrooms had most of their students focused on learning.

The lack of student engagement manifests itself in many ways. A recent analysis published by the Center for American Progress (CAP), based on student surveys from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, found that students are general not engaged in what they are learning. Large percentages say their schoolwork is “too easy.” Many say they are rarely engaged in deep or rigorous learning activities—and students from disadvantaged backgrounds are even less likely to say they are challenged in class. So it should not be surprising that more than one in four students leaves school before graduating.

Yet in a world where US students must compete not only with their peers from neighboring states, but also from students around the world, it is critical that students are engaged in what they are learning. The authors of the CAP study suggested that students may be doing poorly on tests like the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) assessment “because they’re not challenged in school.” So a failure to engage students is not only a personal imperative . . . it is an economic necessity.

Student engagement is also an equity and diversity issue. Four conditions that create engaged people as adapted from Glasser’s choice theory are: 1) some component of fun, 2) the ability for the participants to choose and exercise an appropriate amount of personal power, 3) the sense of belonging to something greater than themselves, and 4) a sense that, although not yet able, they have a fighting chance at gaining competence at a given task. Disadvantaged students, students who do not fit the standard mold, students with learning disabilities, and all of those who are perceived and treated as such are much more likely to suffer a lack of all four. To advance equity and inclusion in our nation’s education system demands that we attend to student engagement and the components that foster it.

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