CSG Midwest
In the coming years, the Midwest’s legislators are likely to hear much more about and be asked to act on a range of issues surrounding education accountability.
How well are elementary and middle schools doing on our state’s measures of academic growth among all students, at all learning levels? Are our high schools adequately preparing young people for success in college and/or careers? Do our schools provide for a well-rounded education and a climate conducive to learning? How prevalent is chronic absenteeism among our state’s students, and what policies can reduce it? What type of state interventions have helped turn around the lowest-performing schools? These issues aren’t new, and certainly policymakers have tried to tackle them in the past, but they will get even more attention because of the Every Student Succeeds Act and, in particular, new state plans in this region to implement it.
This 2015 federal law (along with some of the waivers granted to states under its federal predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act) has ushered in a new era in the state-federal relationship on education — more flexibility for states, including new options for evaluating schools and intervening in low-performing ones.
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Ohio Representative Bob Cupp is addressing the pervasive issue of achieving better academic results for children in low-income households through a legislative task force. In July, Representative Cupp established the Ohio Education-Poverty Task Force to review policies that could lessen the effect of the achievement gap between low income students and their wealthier counterparts, and help students from all schools succeed. The ten-member task force hopes to generate information that will be useful in the Ohio General Assembly’s discussions on education policy, and to derive some proven strategies that can be practically implemented by state policy.

As educational institutions, industries and other organizations develop career and education pathways through stackable credentials, credential holders, employers, students and communities are often confused about navigating the stackable credentialing process. This article highlights some promising models from across the nation as the industry driven momentum for stackable credentials continues to increase in the labor market.

While STEM education has captured policymakers’ attention, few states have taken a systemic approach to STEM policymaking to ensure program coordination, reach, sustainability and return on investment. However, a few states have taken strides to establish statewide coordination, adequate and reliable funding, and evaluation. Those states have demonstrated results, including increased recruitment of female and minority students. Public-private partnerships and structures to formalize the role of business and industry in developing and implementing STEM programs are additional means to enhance these efforts and ensure alignment with employment trends.

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Teacher shortages have been a significant topic of policy concern in nearly every state. Join this webinar to hear how policy leaders and innovators across the country have successfully addressed this challenge. From supporting new teachers to retaining accomplished teachers to accurately identifying teacher shortage areas, this webinar will provide research-based examples from across the teacher career continuum to equip policy leaders with new insights, ideas and inspiration to ensure a high-quality teacher workforce for each and every student.

CSG South

A vital tool for policymakers across the region, Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) offer a snapshot of conditions on a number of issues. Published annually, the CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources, appropriations levels, and performance measures in Southern states, and provide a useful tool to state government officials and staff.

As of May 2017, 17 states have submitted their complete plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The remaining states are expected to submit their plans this September.

CSG Midwest
One high school in North Dakota might want to launch a “technology academy” where its 12th-graders intern and earn credits toward graduation at a nearby Microsoft campus. Another school could change the way it awards credits, moving away from required “seat time” and toward a model based on students’ mastery of the subject area or on their practical learning experiences. Or perhaps some middle schools would like to create “accelerated learning environments,” where students can earn high school credits in subjects such as 
Algebra I.
Whatever the idea, if it has the potential to advance education, the North Dakota legislature wants to make sure the state’s statutes and regulations aren’t standing in the way, Sen. Nicole Poolman says.
CSG Midwest
Over the next two years, Indiana will invest an additional $20 million in a pilot initiative that provides low-income families with access to pre-kindergarten programs. First established in 2014, On My Way Pre-K currently serves nearly 2,300 students in five counties.
Additional state dollars will expand the initiative’s reach to 15 more counties. To participate, students must be 4 years old and reside in a family at or below 127 percent of the federal poverty level. (For the original five counties, the income thresholds could be loosened.) The state also will provide funding for in-home, online early-childhood education in parts of the state that lack high-quality providers.
CSG Midwest
Ohio has become the latest state in the Midwest where community colleges will have the chance to develop and provide bachelor’s degree programs for students. Under HB 49 (the state’s budget bill), these programs must be limited to applied and technical fields and be approved by Ohio’s chancellor of higher education. To get the go-ahead, a community college must show that its four-year program has buy-in from a regional industry or area businesses — for example, they agree to offer work-based learning and employment opportunities to students. In addition, the degree must meet a regional workforce need and fill a void not already met by a four-year college.

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