K-12 Education

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.”

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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Iowa’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation System is having a positive impact on classroom instruction and educators’ professional climate, but it’s still too soon to discern the program’s effects on student achievement, a new interim report says.

It has been 25 years since the passage of the first state law authorizing charter schools in Minnesota. On Saturday, Dec. 10 at the 2016 CSG National Conference, three panelists—state government leaders from Kentucky, Massachusetts and North Carolina—reflected on the history of charter schools and discussed visions for the future.

CSG Midwest
Struggling young readers in Michigan will get more instructional help to reach levels of proficiency under a new law that also could keep some of them from entering fourth grade. Signed this fall by Gov. Rick Snyder, HB 4822requires students to perform well enough on a standardized reading test in order to be promoted to fourth grade. However, the law does provide for some “good cause exemptions,” including if parents and school officials agree it is in the child’s best interests not to be held back.

Today the U.S. Department of Education (Department) issued final regulations to implement provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regarding school accountability, data reporting, and state plans. The regulations incorporate the feedback from state leaders from The Council of State Governments (CSG) that the Department received through the public comment process.  The Department stated that the public feeedback is incorporated, while maintaining the focus on providing states with new flexibility to ensure that every child...

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This school year, officials of K-12 public schools in Illinois are revisiting their student-discipline policies in accordance with a new law that aims to reduce the number of students who receive out-of-school suspensions and expulsions.

“The goal is to ensure that this only happens when absolutely necessary,” says Illinois Sen. Kimberly Lightford, the sponsor of SB 100.

Students who receive exclusionary punishments are at a significantly higher risk of falling behind academically, dropping out of school, and coming into contact with the juvenile justice system, according to a 2014 report from The Council of State Governments Justice Center.

For instances in which a student commits minor misconduct, the new Illinois law requires school leaders to use non-exclusionary methods of discipline — such as in-school suspension, detention or loss of privileges — and to exhaust all other methods of intervention before removing the student.

Per the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a student with a disability receives an individualized education program (IEP), which is intended to provide that student with a “free and appropriate public education” (FAPE). Parents and educators determine the content of each IEP. According to the Supreme Court in Board of Education v. Rowley (1982) to provide a FAPE, an IEP must be “reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits.”

The question the Supreme Court will decide in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, is what level of educational benefit must school districts confer on children with disabilities to provide them with a FAPE.

How can state leaders build the public’s confidence in government if the citizenry doesn’t understand how state government works? Although there has traditionally been a reasonable amount taught in schools about the federal level—checks and balances; how a bill becomes a law; and so on—students learn little about the policies, politics and management of states and localities. Fortunately, there’s a growing civics education movement, at both K-12 and university levels, to expand students' understanding about the entities that most closely touch their lives. This FREE CSG eCademy webcast explores the challenges and benefits of civics education both inside and outside the classroom.

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