CSG Midwest
In response to a greater demand for high-school degrees that emphasize skills and include a more rigorous curriculum, Indiana high schools can expect to see a revised diploma system within the next few years.
In 2014, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation (HB 1213) to evaluate the state’s existing three-diploma system and explore a possible new graduation path for students, one focusing more on career and technical education. The Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana Board of Education will decide whether to approve the changes.
Any changes to state statute would then be voted on by the legislature during its 2016 session. The draft proposal, released this summer, would establish three new types of diplomas: Workforce Ready, College & Career Ready, and Indiana Honors.
CSG Midwest
With school districts in North Dakota scrambling late into the summer to fill open teaching positions, the state has stepped in to help. As of early August, emergency administrative rules were being developed for districts to apply for hardship waivers.

New York Sen. Carl Marcellino understands the evolving conditions as business and industry work to fill vacant jobs with skilled employees.  “The workplace is changing rapidly, making it imperative that we develop innovative ways to educate and prepare our students for the demands of an increasingly diverse and global culture and economy,” said Marcellino, the 2015 national chairman of The Council of State Governments.

Sharing a story about one of his constituents, West Virginia state Sen. John Unger told the audience at a recent CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education that a young mother told him, “I have three jobs and two children. I don’t need another job; I need a good job,” 

Many education officials are turning to the business community to spark conversation about regional hiring needs, deficits in worker skills and the training necessary to allow for family-sustaining wages and for continued industry growth.

Congress is making real progress on the first major rewrite of education law in more than a dozen years. These efforts may portend a rare legislative success for both Republicans and Democrats in a divided Washington.

High school students in some states will soon have to pass a civics exam—the same exam used to quiz immigrants who want to become United States citizens—in order to graduate. In January, Arizona became the first state to require the test, starting with the 2016-17 school year. Idaho, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah followed suit and enacted what is often referred to as the Civics Education Initiative. The Louisiana Legislature passed a civics exam in June, which now awaits Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature.

CSG Midwest
Since its inception in 1955, the Advanced Placement program has been used by millions of high school students who want to experience the rigor of college-level courses before graduation. The long-running program continues to gain popularity. In fact, participation in AP classes by high school graduates in the United States nearly doubled over the past decade. While AP courses are available in many high schools across the country, some states, like Indiana, require every high school to provide students with access to the classes.

According to a recent report released by the Census Bureau, per pupil spending for the U.S. in fiscal year 2013 was $10,700 – less than 1 percent more than in 2012. New York spent the most per student - $19,818 – followed by Alaska ($18,175), the District of Columbia ($17,953), New Jersey ($17,572) and Connecticut ($16,631). Utah spent the least per pupil – $6,555 – followed by Idaho ($6,791), Arizona ($7,208), Oklahoma ($7,672) and Mississippi ($8,130).

CSG Midwest
How many amendments does the U.S. Constitution have? How old do citizens have to be to vote for presidents? How many U.S. senators are there?
Those are among the 100 questions that new immigrants study and learn before taking the test to become a U.S. citizen. Now, some state legislatures are considering proposals to require students to pass the citizenship test in order to graduate from high school.