Missouri voters will vote on Tuesday on a constitutional amendment requiring school districts to implement new performance evaluations for teachers. Though individual districts would have some freedom in developing evaluation mechanisms, the proposed amendment mandates that a majority of the evaluation must be comprised of quantifiable student growth measures. In other words, Missouri teachers would be evaluated mostly on the performance of their students on end-of-year tests, a practice that has gained national traction among lawmakers and spurred criticism from teacher unions.

On October 1-3, 2014, the Policy Academy on Using Education Data to Improve Workforce Development brought together stakeholders from key states to facilitate discussion about the potential benefits of engaging with the research community when enacting and implementing state policy. The goal was to engage in nonpartisan conversation to utilize education data in creating effective policy to help students graduate with the skills to be workforce-ready.  

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This year’s school year in Minnesota was marked by at least one big change for some families in the state — access to full-day kindergarten. The Legislature is spending about $134 million to provide a full day of programming.
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Over the past seven years, every state in the Midwest has established policies that aim to prevent bullying in the schools. But how detailed and far-reaching should these policies be? On that question, there is considerable variation among the states, especially in light of new laws now in place in Minnesota and IllinoiIn both of those states, the legislatures chose this year to significantly expand the role of states — and their local school districts — in bullying prevention and intervention.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—The UPS headquarters in Louisville, Ky., has found a way to attract good workers and connect those workers to higher education. UPS/Metropolitan College covers the cost of tuition, books and academic bonuses to employees who work in the UPS overnight air operation while they’re attending school. The company partners with the University of Louisville, one of the largest universities in Kentucky, and the Jefferson County Community and Technical College to offer the program, Nick D’Andrea, director of state government affairs for UPS, told attendees at the Aug. 13 session, “Linking Education, Workforce Development for More Competitive States,” during the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference.

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Earlier this year, Indiana became the first U.S. state to opt out of Common Core education standards, and the repeal movement continues to attract interest in other Midwestern states as well.
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Over the past two years, a big change has occurred in high schools across the state of Kansas. More and more students are getting a head start on their future careers and their postsecondary studies — by enrolling in and completing courses in career and technical education, or CTE. The rates of growth in the state are striking.

Alabama Rep. Mac Buttram thinks it’s about time people start thinking about career and technical education in a different way. Buttram recently was appointed to Gov. Robert Bentley’s new Alabama Workforce Council. The council, comprised primarily of state business leaders, is designed to help K-12 and higher education institutions in the state better meet the needs of businesses and industries. He was one of the featured speakers at CSG’s Policy Academy on Workforce Development, held Aug. 9 at the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference in Alaska.

Public education in the U.S. was established with a vitally important civic mission—to prepare each generation for informed and engaged citizenship. As part of CSG’s ongoing work exploring the history and current challenges of federalism, this session took a step back and explored how we are teaching future generations about government and civic participation.

High-profile programs like Race to the Top and Common Core have brought education reform again to the front of the national agenda. Discussion, however, settles over class size, teacher certification and teacher compensation because they seem like the most important issues related to student achievement. Significantly less time is spent on discussing the role of the principal. With increasingly complex duties, higher accountability and only modest pay increases, the principal’s job has become frustrating and unappreciated. Nevertheless, new studies are shedding light on the substantial impact that principals, as a part of institutional leadership, have on student performance.

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