Since April, Congress has been working to rewrite the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act. On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Student Success Act. The following week, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan compromise—the Every Child Achieves Act. Both the House and Senate bills have much in common, but also diverge on a few critical issues, such as school choice, accountability and national student test opt-outs. This webinar provides a briefing on the history of ESEA, details on the transformation of federal education policy, an update on the key ESEA differences currently being debated, and insights into what longstanding implications the new federal education policies will have for state governments.

CSG Midwest
On an important measure of college and career readiness, high school students in most Midwestern states continue to outperform their peers from across the country.
CSG Midwest
Over the past decade and a half, via legislation and/or administrative rules, many states in the Midwest have established new standards, training requirements and limits on the use of these procedures, which are typically used in response to serious behavioral problems exhibited by students. This trend continued in 2015 with actions taken by the Kansas Legislature. Under HB 2170, signed into law in May, physical restraint or seclusion can only be used on students when they present a “reasonable and immediate danger of physical harm” to themselves or others.
CSG Midwest
For the past 60 years, high school students across the country have been able to complete college-level coursework through the Advanced Placement (AP) Program. In addition to the academic benefits, students may earn college credit for scoring well on their AP exams, which are graded on a scale of 1 to 5. But the policies on awarding credits can vary from state to state, or even within the same postsecondary system.
This summer, Illinois lawmakers approved a measure that ensures the state’s high-performing AP students will get a head start on their college careers. HB 3428, signed into law in August, requires all public colleges and universities in the state to award course credit for AP exam scores of 3 or higher. (The College Board and the American Council on Education recommend that a score of 3 or higher be the standard for awarding college credit.)

Congress returned from the August break facing the challenge of having to address a long list of critical issues in the dwindling legislative year. These important issues include reaching agreement on the budget and debt ceiling; addressing the expiring highway funding authority; overhauling federal education policy; and discussing cybersecurity legislation.

As classes resume across the country this fall, the University of Iowa will join nearly 1,100 colleges and universities that have declared their campuses tobacco free. The new policy adds smokeless tobacco, snuff, water pipes and electronic cigarettes—or e-cigarettes—to their list of banned substances on campus, joining cigarette and cigar smoke under the school’s previous policy.

Comprised of eight campuses and over 80,000 students, the Texas State University System has devised an innovative strategy to make college more affordable for its students. Starting next fall, nontraditional students will be encouraged to take free massive open online courses (MOOCs) before stepping on campus and earn college credit for up to a year if they pass related exit exams. 

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. CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, comparative revenues and revenue forecasts, education, Medicaid, and transportation.

The United States faces a pressing national security and competitiveness challenge rooted in a shortage of a diverse, highly skilled workforce, particularly in vital cross-disciplinary fields such as data science and analytics, cybersecurity, and information technology. To address this challenge, the Business-Higher Education Forum launched the National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative, employing a model of strategic business engagement with postsecondary education to meet the highest priority workforce needs. Through the initiative, the education forum plans, launches and assesses projects, partnerships and scaling strategies that are designed to enable business and higher education to move from transactional engagement in low-touch, piecemeal activities to strategic, long-term partnerships that align postsecondary education with workforce needs. Two of these projects—in Maryland and Ohio— offer models of such partnerships.

State policymakers hear frequently from employers that they cannot find skilled workers for open positions. Many of these positions are middle-skill jobs that require some form of postsecondary training, but not a bachelor’s degree. This article discusses state strategies to close skill gaps and meet employer skill needs.