Education

The Every Student Succeeds Act

Signed in to law in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. ESSA emphasizes college and career readiness, accountability, scaling back assessments, increasing access to preschool and the important role state and local communities play in making their schools successful. ESSA federal funding acts as an incentives package for innovation in America’s school systems.

CSG Midwest
Career and technical education programs in Iowa schools will be held to a higher set of standards under legislation passed this spring. CTE programs use work-based learning to prepare students for life after high school, whether that is entering the workforce or attending college. Iowa’s standards hadn’t undergone a major revision since 1989, allowing each school district to evolve CTE programs at its own pace.
CSG Midwest
Starting in 2017, the state of Nebraska will begin offering up to $5 million in tiered tax credits annually to early-childhood programs and their employees — the first Midwestern state, and just the second U.S. state, to do so. Under the School Readiness Tax Credit Act (LB 889, passed earlier this year), which is linked to a quality rating and improvement system created three years ago by the Unicameral Legislature, providers receive incentives based on their quality rating, while eligible employees can claim credits based on education levels, training and work history.
CSG Midwest
Starting this fall in Minnesota, college students will be required to complete training on preventing and reducing the prevalence of sexual assault. The mandate is part of a comprehensive law on sexual-assault prevention (SF 5) passed by legislators last year. In addition to requiring students to complete training within 10 business days of their first semester, the law expands the rights of victims, creates a new option to report cases online, and ensures that each school has a walk-in location staffed with trained advocates. 
CSG Midwest
When the Every Student Succeeds Act got signed into law late last year with bipartisan congressional support, many state education leaders were quick to laud its passage and what it would mean for local control over schools.
Phil Pavlov, chair of the Michigan Senate Education Committee, said it opened the possibility for states to set their own policies, “without constant fear of federal intrusion and repercussions.” In Ohio, Sen. Peggy Lehner hailed the start of a new era in U.S. education policy.
“[It] is the most significant education reform bill in the past 14 years,” the chair of the state Senate Education Committee said, and would provide “new tools to advance the education of the children of Ohio.”
But as both Pavlov and Lehner noted, that additional flexibility will come with greater responsibility for states. As the new law begins to be fully implemented, the federal government will take a step back in some key areas of education policy and rely on states to step up.
“That means finding ways to strengthen schools that really need our help,” says Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. “Five or seven years from now, it’s going to be really important, for the credibility of states, to show that our lower-performing schools have improved. Congress has trusted the states to get this right, and we have a window to do that.”

Two weeks ago, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas unveiled a new performance-based funding model for higher education. The proposal will go before the Legislature in 2017. Most states have some element of performance incorporated in to funding formulas. If the proposal is passed, Arkansas would become the fifth state to have a funding formula based exclusively on outcomes. Universities and community colleges would receive their funding not based on enrollment, but rather on measures of their productivity, such as degree completion.

The Every Student Succeeds Act: A Profile on The Council of State Governments Eastern Region States

Signed in to law in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. The ESSA emphasizes college and career readiness, accountability, scaling back assessments, increasing access to preschool and the important role state and local communities play in making their schools successful. ESSA federal funding acts as an incentives package for innovation in America’s school systems.

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By Crit Luallen
It would be no surprise if a young person whose perception of public service has been formed through the lens of cable news and its 30-second sound bites was forever dissuaded from choosing a career in the public arena. So much of what we see today involves the negative attacks and divisive rhetoric that have fueled increased polarization in this nation. But an innovative program in Lexington, Kentucky, offers an opportunity for a select group of future leaders to see public leadership in a far different and much more positive way. The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship is a nonprofit dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders in the essential skills of diplomacy, negotiation and conflict resolution. Thanks to a collaborative partnership that includes The Council of State Governments, the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky, and Transylvania University, the Henry Clay Center expanded in 2016 to hold both a high school and college-level Student Congress in the same year for the first time.

Californians will weigh in on bilingual education this fall through Proposition 58, which seeks to overturn a previous proposition's directive for public schools to teach English-language learners exclusively in English.

Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter emphasizing the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. The guidance also clarifies that repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that many children with disabilities are not receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports. The Department voiced concern over the possibility of schools failing to consider and provide for needed behavioral supports through an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which could result in a child not receiving the free appropriate public education to which they are entitled under federal law.

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