Elizabeth Whitehouse

Author Articles

State education leaders strive to help students enter the workforce prepared to succeed—to be career ready. The term career readiness is used in education systems at the national, state and local levels to describe the skills, attributes and preparedness students need to enter the workforce.

States and businesses continue to recover from the Great Recession, and they are doing so in an environment shaped by two historic shifts related to economic and workforce development. The first is the return of manufacturing jobs to the United States and the second is new technological requirements of these jobs. While job opportunities continue to grow, today’s factories require greater levels of technical knowledge from employees. But with these new jobs come new challenges in the form of preparing a workforce equipped with the skills and competencies required for a rapidly evolving workplace—filling the critical skills gap among today’s workers as well as students preparing to enter the future workforce.

The U.S. Department of Education recently released its first annual update of the redesigned College Scorecard to ensure that students and families have up-to-date, comprehensive, and reliable information available on colleges, all in an easy-to-understand format. The site allows visitors to sort and filter their search results to easily compare schools and consider the typical costs, average student loan amount, students’ ability to repay their loans, and their future earnings. State education and workforce leaders can use this website to compare higher education opportunities in their states to those in the surrounding region and across the country.

Every Student Succeeds Act

Signed in to law in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. ESSA emphasizes college and career readiness, accountability, scaling back assessments, increasing access to preschool and the important role state and local communities play in making their schools successful. ESSA federal funding acts as an incentives package for innovation in America’s school systems.

Implementation Timeline

While the final...

The Every Student Succeeds Act

Signed in to law in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. ESSA emphasizes college and career readiness, accountability, scaling back assessments, increasing access to preschool and the important role state and local communities play in making their schools successful. ESSA federal funding acts as an incentives package for innovation in America’s school systems.

The Every Student Succeeds Act: A Profile on The Council of State Governments Eastern Region States

Signed in to law in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. The ESSA emphasizes college and career readiness, accountability, scaling back assessments, increasing access to preschool and the important role state and local communities play in making their schools successful. ESSA federal funding acts as an incentives package for innovation in America’s school systems.

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Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter emphasizing the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. The guidance also clarifies that repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that many children with disabilities are not receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports. The Department voiced concern over the possibility of schools failing to consider and provide for needed behavioral supports through an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which could result in a child not receiving the free appropriate public education to which they are entitled under federal law.

A debate over the use of bathrooms by transgender individuals, which began in the states, has resulted in new guidance from the federal government. But a lawsuit by several states challenging the guidance suggests the issue may not yet be resolved. 

As states look to trim budgets and focus on programs that have proven results, early childhood programs have shown high return on the investment of taxpayer dollars on long-term nonacademic indicators.

workforce development icon

An estimated 54 million Americans live with a disability. The majority of adults with disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed—despite their ability, desire, and willingness to work in the community and contribute to the economy. People with disabilities bring valuable skills to the workforce, and hiring them benefits the business community and employees alike.

As such, people with disabilities are a key factor in states' ability to build strong, inclusive workforces that translate into economic success. And "moving the needle" on this critical workforce issue will require strong public policy at the state level that addresses systemic number of key areas.

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