Each year, millions of students are removed from their classrooms for disciplinary reasons, mostly for minor discretionary offenses. Disciplinary removals may be appropriate in situations in which a student poses an immediate safety risk to himself/herself or others on a school campus. But when such removals are administered for minor misconduct, they are often detrimental to students’ academic and behavioral progress. Research, including the groundbreaking Breaking Schools’ Rules study conducted by The Council of State Governments’ Justice Center, demonstrates that exclusionary disciplinary actions increase a student’s likelihood of falling behind academically, dropping out of school, and coming into contact with the juvenile justice system. A disproportionately large percentage of disciplined students are youth of color, students with disabilities, and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. In response, states across the country are passing legislation that limits the number of students who are removed from school for disciplinary reasons and provides more supportive responses to misbehavior. In 2014, the CSG Justice Center also released the School Discipline Consensus Report, which provides state and local government officials with a comprehensive roadmap for overhauling their approach to school discipline.

The Act allows secondary school students to earn credit for core courses by passing a mastery exam. School districts are required to develop assessment tools and standards for demonstrating mastery in specific secondary school courses, including mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, and world languages. Students who pass such assessment tests will be provided full credit for the course.

The Act directs the State Board of Education to include the requirement for students to pass a civics test in the high school competency requirements for graduation, beginning in the 2016-17 school year.

State officials are closely watching as the U.S. Department of Education releases more information on what the new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, changes in accountability system requirements and funding mechanisms. 

CSG Midwest
According to the U.S. Department of Education, a teacher shortage of some kind is happening in each of the 11 Midwestern states. These shortages can take different forms — an inadequate supply of teachers by subject area or grade level, or in a certain geographic area — but they all can adversely impact student learning.
“It’s when a local school does not have highly effective individuals prepared to meet the needs of children,” Nadene Davidson, chair elect of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, said during a December webinar hosted by the Midwestern Legislative Conference Education Committee.
CSG Midwest

For the fourth year in a row, U.S. high school graduation rates increased, and many states in the Midwest helped lead the way. Iowa (90.5 percent) and Nebraska (89.7 percent) have the highest rates in the nation, new federal data show. With the exception of Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio, states in the Midwest had higher graduation rates than the national average of 82.3 percent. States have been using a common metric to measure graduation rates since 2010.

CSG Midwest
Over the past two years, Iowa legislators have deepened the state's commitment to work-based learning, and thousands of young people are taking advantage of the opportunity. Through a bill passed in 2013 (HF 604), lawmakers laid the groundwork for the creation of 15 regional intermediary networks. The goal of these networks is to increase K-12 students' access to career fairs, internships and job-shadowing opportunities in their communities.

Transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, or NCLB, is the product of bipartisan efforts in Congress to give states greater control of accountability and academic standards. State officials are closely watching as the U.S. Department of Education releases more information on what the new act changes in...

During this webinar, Dr. Nadene Davidson, Associate Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Northern Iowa, and Chair-Elect of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's Advisory Council of State Representatives, discussed the effect of teacher shortages on the educator pipeline in the Midwest. She also described actions being taken by educator preparation programs, their PK-12 partners, and state policymakers to address this and other issues impacting the education profession.

Top 5 Issues in Workforce Development

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Implementation

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, also known as WIOA, became effective on July 1, 2015. However, the act includes several provisions that become effective on other dates. On March 1, 2016, governors must submit a Unified or Combined State Plan pertaining to workforce...

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