K-12 Education

Early college high schools provide low-income, minority and other at-risk youth the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and as much as two years’ postsecondary credit within five years of high school entry. While many programs are still relatively new, emerging research suggests that students in early college programs perform better than their peers, as measured by attendance rates, enrollment in college-track mathematics courses, state assessment scores and other indicators. A small but growing number of states have enacted state-level policies to provide the unique funding mechanisms and supports that maximize student success in early college high schools.

Suggested State Legislation: 2007 Wisconsin Act 222 defines a virtual charter school as a charter school that provides an online learning program. The Act exempts for a limited time people who teach in virtual charter schools from having a teaching license or permit issued by the state department of public instruction. However, it requires that beginning July 1, 2013, no person may teach an online course in a public or charter school unless he or she has completed a professional development program, approved by state department of public instruction, that is designed to prepare a teacher for online teaching.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act creates a digital learning academy to provide choice, accessibility, flexibility, quality and equity in curricular offerings for secondary students. The Act sets up a board of directors for the academy and provides for liability insurance for academy directors. The Act creates a Digital Learning Academy Fund and designates the digital learning academy as an employer within the state public employee retirement system.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act prohibits school boards, school employees, or officials from authorizing any group or organization to use a school district’s or school's name, mascot, logos, property, or facilities for the purpose of raising money until the local board of education adopts a policy concerning local school support groups.

Suggested State Legislature: This Act authorizes school districts to offer Virtual School Programs. Each district program may consist of district-operated or contracted virtual schools. Districts may administer their programs individually, through regional consortiums, or through multi-district contracts.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act establishes general criteria to protect student journalists in public schools or public colleges from censure by school or college officials because of the content of school sponsored or school-affiliated media such as student newspapers, and regardless of whether such media is funded by the school or produced on school property.

CSG South

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act celebrated its sixth anniversary on January 8, 2008, four months beyond the date on which it was due for reauthorization. NCLB is the most recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which has guided federal education policy since its first passage in 1965. The sweeping legislation, passed with bipartisan support, has become a galvanizing political issue. It is appropriate and necessary that state legislators are a part of the debate on reauthorizing the Act. Education is the single largest budget item for almost all states, and there are few other pieces of federal legislation that have had such an impact on state educational expenditures and policy as NCLB. Over the past several years, the Education Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference has held a number of discussions on the Act and its implications for state policy. From these reflections on the Act and its impacts on states it is possible to draw some conclusions for guiding the reauthorization and continued implementation of NCLB.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments calls upon the federal education policymakers to work closely with state and local education officials during NCLB reauthorization to examine how NCLB is working in their communities and where improvements are needed, while maintaining a focus on accountability and standards. At the same time the federal government must live up to its commitment and provide the necessary financial resources to implement the mandates in NCLB by fully funding Title I programs to low-income school districts, Teacher Quality Grants, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers and other important programs under NCLB.

This Act provides for scholarships for public school students with disabilities to attend other public or private schools. It provides for qualifications and criteria for the scholarship program and establishes certain requirements for schools that participate in the scholarship program.

Suggested State Legislation:  This Act allows colleges and universities to offer programs to enable qualified students to earn a high school diploma while earning credits for a certificate program, an associate's or a baccalaureate degree. This Act also establishes a Double Up for College Dual High School-College Credit Program enabling high schools to offer at least two dual credit and advanced placement courses each year to high school students.