Education

In October 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $50.5 million in grants to help states develop and implement comprehensive strategies to support apprenticeship expansion. Grants were awarded to 36 states and one territory with grant awards ranging from $700,000 to $2,700,000.

State leaders are focused on skill development and apprenticeships as the way forward in increasing labor participation and attracting mid- and high-wage jobs to their states. As states and businesses continue to recover from the Great Recession, both are attempting to do so in a new environment. The 21st century has seen two historic shifts related to economics and workforce development. The first is the return of manufacturing jobs to the United States and the second is the new technological requirements of these jobs. While job opportunities continue to grow, today’s factories employ fewer people but require greater levels of technical knowledge from employees.

State education officials are being given greater control over everything from evaluating teacher performance to setting education standards, thanks to a comprehensive reform bill signed by President Barack Obama in December 2015. The legislation, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, reduced the federal government’s role in setting education policy and granted more authority to the states, a move that education officials are hopeful will lead to strides in fixing widening achievement gaps and other issues that have plagued the nation’s public schools.

On February 10th, Education Secretary Besty DeVos issued a letter to Chief State School Officers that addressed a number of ongoing efforts related to the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, and its associated state plans and regulations. The letter is written in response to uncertainty as a result of the White House Chief of Staff’s January 20th memo ordering a freeze to all pending regulations, as well as Congressional efforts to repeal the regulations issued by the Obama Administration.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of the U.S. Department of Education with a 51-50 vote. What should states expect in education policy under Secretary DeVos and the Trump administration?

Growing teacher shortages across states continue to worsen, just as student enrollment is projected to increase by 3 million over the next 10 years, according to the Learning Policy Institute. Elaine Wynn, president of the Nevada State Board of Education, described the situation in her state as a human resource crisis. “We’re all going to sink,” Wynn told the Las Vegas Sun. “This is horrific.”

In 2016, The Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures assembled a national task force to focus on workforce development efforts targeting people with disabilities in the states. This task force had four subcommittees composed of state policymakers along with non-voting stakeholders from the private sector and academia. The third in a four-part series that coincides with the subcommittee topics, this CSG Capitol Research brief highlights the recommendations from the Hiring, Retention and Reentry, or HRR, Subcommittee of the National Task Force on Workforce Development and Employability for People with Disabilities.

2016 CSG National Conference
Friday, Dec. 9, 2016

Sponsored by the CSG Education & Workforce Development Public Policy Committee

State officials are closely watching as the U.S. Department of Education releases more information on what the new Every Student Succeeds Act,...

This Week in Education: 5 Things to Know

1.Secretary Designate Betsy DeVos approved by Senate HELP Committee

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on Tuesday morning approved Betsy DeVos’s nomination to lead the US Department of Education.

DeVos was confirmed 12-11 along party lines. Her nomination will now go to the Senate floor, where she’ll need only need a simple majority to be confirmed.

CSG Midwest
K-12 education consistently makes up the largest share of state general fund spending each year, hovering between 34 percent and 36 percent since 1996, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. In fiscal year 2015, more than $260 billion went to elementary and secondary education. Although no two states distribute education dollars exactly the same way, the vast majority of funding formulas are built around a “foundation” or “base” amount of funding that is the minimum each student receives. 

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