While the definition of giftedness varies from state to state, federal legislation is quite clear about the definition of a gifted student. According to the No Child Left Behind Act, “gifted and talented” refers to students “who give evidence of high achievement capabilities in such areas as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.”

Experts say an education in science, technology, engineering, arts and math—or STEAM—is essential to building an innovative workforce in the United States, and the sooner students delve into STEAM education, the better.

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.

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.

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.