CSG Midwest
After decades of experience in Nebraska’s public schools, including 15 years as a principal, Sen. Rick Kolowski learned quite a bit about the students he taught and helped graduate. One lesson learned, he says, is that young people need to be prepared for college and careers — now more than ever before. A second lesson is the value of academic and scheduling rigor, which Kolowski says not only challenges students, but also gets them excited about their future.
“We need to work on maximizing the junior and senior years of high school,” Kolowski says. “It is especially important that these students have full, rigorous schedules that get them ready for college or a career.”
As a legislator, Kolowski is now pushing for a new law that would get the state more involved in delivering a better curriculum to students in the final years of their K-12 careers. LB 343 would reimburse school districts with successful existing programs and offer grants to schools that need help in implementing new ones.
“We are what we learn,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has noted. If that message is true, what does it say that many of today’s children are learning essentially the same content in substantially the same way as their parents and grandparents? They are 21st century students who are still receiving a 20th century education.

Tim Weldon, education policy analyst, and I had the opportunity to meet with Lt. Governor Garcia, state legislators, department of education officials and postsecondary education leaders to discuss innovative state action through policymaking.  Specific recommendations and opportunities were shared to ensure college- and career-readiness and access to and success in postsecondary education.

During the Joint Committee on Education meeting, we were given the opportunity to share the work of CSG's Deeper Learning Focus...

As the global economy becomes more and more competitive, schools are looking for ways to better prepare students for college and/or the workforce. Some states have found success with various policies and programs. This briefing included a discussion of rigorous academic standards, common assessments, professional development, teacher preparation, time and technology, and state accountability systems. State leaders can determine what will work best based on the needs of individual communities. Experts provided an analysis of existing state policies and offer innovative strategies and solutions to put transformational ideas into practice.

On Monday, President Barack Obama officially unveiled his budget for 2013.  As he spoke from Northern Virginia Community College, Obama highlighted the more than $65 billion in education funding focused on resources dedicated to transforming K-12 and postsecondary education to ensure students have the skills and knowledge to succeed in the future.

The U.S. Department of Education released progress report information for the 12 states that received Race to the Top funding in 2010.  The specific summaries highlight the reform efforts and initiatives each state is implementing along with challenges along the way.  Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee developed aggressive plans for statewide reform and secured funding for the work.

Educators and policymakers realize that all of America’s students need a high-quality education to prepare them for college and careers. 2012 promises to be another busy year in  transformational strategies in education. In order to ensure a world-class education, leaders will likely address these top five issues facing states and territories (“the states”) this year.

How many times do some college students change their majors? Once? Twice? More? Choosing the career one wants to pursue is an often difficult, even agonizing, decision, marked by trial and error, changing priorities, and life experiences. That helps explain why it's not uncommon for postsecondary education students to change their career choices mid-stream. Georgia, however, will start expecting students as early as the ninth grade to choose a career path and begin preparing for it in high school.

After four years of high school most students are probably eager to put high school behind them. A study in Maine, however, could lead to students having the option to remain in high school for an extra year if they choose to do so.

Governor Paul LePage signed an executive order on Tuesday that will create a 19-member task force to study the idea of an optional fifth year for high school students. The concept is based on the idea of giving high school students more opportunities to earn...

This Act establishes a program to enable eleventh and twelfth grade high school students to attend postsecondary colleges and schools and get high school credit. It contains requirements for course credit and state funding.