Policy Area

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced plans to hire a Chief Data Officer for the Department. Secretary Pritzker emphasized the breadth and depth of information that the Commerce Department handles and says the new Chief Data Officer will be able to coordinate data collection and help the agency use data strategically. Many states, counties and cities have already realized the benefits of chief data officers. As of July 2014,...

On July 24, 2014, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, introduced a discussion draft outlining a plan to reform federal anti-poverty programs. Ryan’s Expanding Opportunity in America proposal aims to consolidate federal programs to reduce redundancy while also granting states more authority in the administration of federal programs in order to improve overall efficiency.

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) will be highlighted at CSG’s Eastern Regional Conference in Baltimore and again at CSG’s Annual meeting in Anchorage.  The session in Baltimore will begin at 1:15 PM on Tuesday, August 5 and the session in Anchorage will take place at 9:00 AM on Sunday, August 10th.  Both presentations are intended to inform policymakers about the new agreement and the potential benefits it can offer both states and institutions. 

Policymakers attending The Council of State Governments’ National and CSG West 2014 Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, will have an opportunity hear about a new distance learning compact being developed by CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts....

When it comes to meeting the transportation needs of its residents, Alaska has some defining characteristics that set it apart from other states in the challenges it faces. “Alaska’s primary challenges stem primarily from its vastness, limited infrastructure and arctic climate,” said John R. Binder III, deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Transportation.

In order for the U.S. to maintain its global economic competitiveness, each student must graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills needed for success in college, the workforce and life. But many experts agree high-quality educational programs can’t wait to begin until kindergarten....

For every two packs of cigarettes sold in New York, at least one has been illegally smuggled into the state. That’s according to research by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which also reports that cigarette smuggling cost states an estimated $5.5 billion in lost revenue in 2012. “The significance of the problem cannot be overstated in high-tax states,” said Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center.

Colorado’s commitment to be the healthiest state will be achieved through spending smarter, not necessarily more, according to Tom Massey, deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. “As health care itself changes, so must the way we finance health care,” Massey said. “We must reform our payment models so we get better quality and value.”

Economic recovery from the Great Recession has been slow and painful and for many states, revenues are only now getting back to pre-recession levels. While the recession took states on a fiscal roller coaster ride, it also helped reveal the importance of planning for hard times long before they arrive and having a strategy in place to manage volatility. A new series of reports by The Pew Charitable Trusts aims to provide state policymakers with a roadmap to help manage fiscal ups and downs and uncertainty. The first report in the series, "Managing Uncertainty," looks at volatility across the 50 states, noting that the drivers of economic and revenue volatility vary widely.

High-profile programs like Race to the Top and Common Core have brought education reform again to the front of the national agenda. Discussion, however, settles over class size, teacher certification and teacher compensation because they seem like the most important issues related to student achievement. Significantly less time is spent on discussing the role of the principal. With increasingly complex duties, higher accountability and only modest pay increases, the principal’s job has become frustrating and unappreciated. Nevertheless, new studies are shedding light on the substantial impact that principals, as a part of institutional leadership, have on student performance.

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