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Here is a list of all ECS analysis and documents, listed by year (click on the tables to expand them). If you have a question about a specific document, you can click on the author's name to send them an e-mail. There is also a search function in the top right corner to help you find a specific document. If you are unable to locate the information you are looking for, please contact our Information Clearinghouse at 303.299.3675 or Kathy Christie at kchristie@ecs.org.
2014 (click to expand/collapse)

Policy analysis, documents and database updates

Blueprint for college readiness: A 50-state policy analysis and Blueprint 50-state database
The Education Commission of the States launched the Blueprint for College Readiness initiative to provide guidance and support to the growing number of states working to improve student success and transition from high school into postsecondary. Designed by state leaders for state leaders, the Blueprint features a menu of 10 critical policies promoting college readiness and success. The following 50-state analysis explores the extent to which states are pursuing these policies. The accompanying resources, technical assistance and online database are designed to respond to the unique needs of states. (Emmy Glancy, Mary Fulton, Lexi Anderson, Jennifer Dounay Zinth and Maria Millard, Education Commission of the States, October 2014)

The Progress of Education Reform: Effectiveness-focused Teacher Preparation
The issue of The Progress of Education Reform explores why obtaining meaningful information on how well teacher-preparation programs are preparing our nation's teachers remains such a challenge. Moving in the direction of effectiveness-focused preparation is presented as an effective strategy and one that a number of states already have initiated. (Kathy Christie, Education Commission of the States, October 2014)

Initiatives from Preschool to Third Grade: A Policymaker's Guide
This reference guide addresses effective strategies to support children on their path to third-grade academic success and details the foundations of effective P-3 approaches. It is organized in response to the two types of questions policymakers most commonly ask ECS about P-3 approaches: What are effective strategies to support children on their path to third-grade academic success, and what are the foundations of any effective P-3 approach? (Sarah Daily, with Bruce Atchison and Emily Workman, Education Commission of the States, October 2014)

Number of instructional days/hours in the school year
This report lists the minimum number of instructional days/hours in a school year and the start dates prescribed by law, where specified. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia allow local districts or regions to determine when the school year begins. (Julie Rowland, Education Commission of the States, October 2014)

Open-source textbooks can help drive down the overall cost of college
There is growing national and international interest in Open Educational Resources as a way to help financially distressed states reduce costs and save students millions of dollars. (Maria Millard, Education Commission of the States, September 2014)

States and the (not so) new standards -- where are they now? (press release)
There has been a flurry of activity around the Common Core State Standards, and while it seems the landscape is changing all the time, there has been very limited change in state standards. This report captures a snapshot of where states currently stand in regard to those standards. (Kathy Christie and Tonette Salazar, ECS, September 2014)

The Progress of Education Reform: A Hidden Cause of Rising Tuition
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform examines tuition discounting, the practice of awarding targeted financial incentives to students, usually in the form of merit awards or needs-based grants. Specific attention is focused on the impact state-legislated tuition caps can have on the practice. (Sarah Pingel and Matt Gianneschi, ECS, August 2014)

Trends in state charter school laws: Authorizers, caps, performance-based closures and virtual schools
A growing number of states have enacted legislation on the oversight and performance of charter schools in an effort to establish standards for the semi-autonomous public schools. While most states have charter school laws, more states are concentrating specifically on authorizers and the role those entities play. (Kathy Christie, Jennifer Thomsen, Micah Wixom and Maria Millard ECS, July 2014)

Different paths to a common goal: Preparing students for civic life
Successful policymaking for civic education requires broad support through a goal-oriented, non-partisan and collaborative approach. A new report highlights the variety of paths that have been employed around the country to reach that common goal. (Brady Delander and Maria Millard, ECS, June 2014)

A Cure for remedial reporting chaos
This paper reviews state-level practices that identify, track and regularly report the numbers of students identified for remedial instruction. In doing so, the Education Commission of the States hopes to begin a national dialogue regarding if and how states could share information about students’ referral to and success in remedial and college-level courses. (Matt Gianneschi and Mary Fulton, June 2014)

Secretaries of state make impact, lasting impression in civics
Among the responsibilities of individual secretaries of state in this country, the oversight of elections within their respective states plays a large role. These chief election officers actively work to maximize registration of eligible voters and help educate the public in regard to general voter information. Many secretaries of state attempt to go further and have started initiatives focused on civic learning and engagement –- efforts that are designed to continue even after they leave office. (Brady Delander and Maria Millard, ECS, June 2014)

The Progress of Education Reform: Science in the Early Years
Recent research suggests early math, science and social studies knowledge may boost achievement for the nation’s youngest students and provides a better chance at future reading success – more so even than early reading skills. (Kimberly Brenneman, National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, June 2014)

States moving from accreditation to accountability
Since ECS last reviewed public school accreditation policies in 1998, a number of states have seen their legislatures take a stronger role in accountability — resulting in a move from state-administered accreditation systems to outcomes-focused state accountability programs. (Micah Ann Wixom, ECS, June 2014)

Dual enrollment: A strategy to improve college-going and college completion among rural students
Research shows that students who participate in dual enrollment are more likely than their peers to finish high school, enter college and complete a degree. This means dual enrollment can greatly benefit students in rural areas, which report lower college-going and postsecondary attainment rates than other locales. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, June 2014)

Florida and Illinois: Civics Initiatives, No Law Required
Two states, Illinois and Florida, have made significant efforts — without legislation — to create a network of academic institutions committed to providing students with opportunities to gain the skills necessary to be effective participants in a democracy. These efforts demonstrate how leadership can drive change. (Maria Millard, ECS, June 2014)

Rating States, Grading Schools What Parents and Experts say States Should Consider to Make School Accountability Systems Meaningful
The report is intended to help states policymakers create accessible, useful and effective school accountability systems. In January, ECS released a 50-state database that found more states are moving to A-F grades for schools. Today’s ECS report shows it take more than a letter grade to be transparent. (Marga Mikulecky and Kathy Christie, ECS, May 2014)

Trends in teacher tenure: Teacher performance plays growing role in employment decisions and database
An increasing number of states are mandating teacher performance be considered in educator employment decisions, including awarding tenure and layoffs, according to a 50-state policy review of teacher tenure laws. (Jennifer Thomsen, ECS, May 2014)

States address civics with mandated task forces
A number of states, including Illinois, Massachusetts and Virginia, are using task forces to study potential improvements in civic education. The second in a series of papers examining state approaches to civic education. (Brady Delander, ECS, May 2014)

Students on the move: How states are responding to increasing mobility among postsecondary students
ECS reviewed transfer and articulation policies in the 50 states to get a sense of how policymakers are responding in law to these changes. In the modern postsecondary environment, it is clear transfer policies are more important than ever. (Maria Millard, ECS, May 2014)

Later school start times in adolescence: Time for change
Opening school doors at the crack of dawn negatively affects the health and overall education of adolescent students in the United States, says a noted British sleep researcher who is urging American policymakers to consider later start times. (Paul Kelley, Ph.D., University of Oxford’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute; Clark Lee, J.D., Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland, ECS, May 2014)

The Progress of Education Reform: Career/Technical Education

Across the 50 states, career and technical education (CTE) programs at the K-12 and postsecondary levels have seen enormous policy action — 2013 alone saw at least 78 substantive policy changes via legislation, substantive state board rules and executive orders specific to CTE and workforce development. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, April 2014)

Developmental strategies for college readiness and success
ECS and the Southern Regional Education Board collaborated on a resource guide describing efforts in 25 states to reduce the need for college remediation. (Mary Fulton, ECS, April 2014)

Florida and Tennessee: Accountability in civic education
Lawmakers in Florida, in 2010, and in Tennessee, in 2012, approved legislation that holds students accountable for their civics knowledge. Students are taking the tests for the first time this school year. (Education Commission of the States, Brady Delander, April 2014)

Kindergarten Policy Database 2014
ECS' 50-state online database highlights trends in kindergarten policy, including more states requiring kindergarten entrance assessments, the shifting of kindergarten entrance age cut-off dates and the wide variance in how many hours/days states require for kindergarten programs. (Micah Ann Wixom, Education Commission of the States, March 2014)

Governors' top education issues: State-of-the-States 2014
An analysis of 2014 state-of-the-state addresses shows education continues to be a top priority with the nation's governors, with proposals ranging from expanding preschool to restoring K-12 funding to freezing tuition rates. (Jennifer Thomsen, Education Commission of the States, March 2014)

States address concerns about concussions in youth sports
As of January, all 50 states are addressing concerns about concussions in youth sports through legislation that emphasizes education for coaches, mandates removal of players suspected of head injuries and requires a health professional’s approval for return to play. (Carol Kreck, Education Commission of the States, March 2014)

CTE Dual Enrollment: A strategy for college completion and workforce investment
Dual enrollment programs are expanding -- and so are dual enrollment programs with a career and technical education (CTE) focus. The most recent data available from the National Center on Education Statistics show that 82 percent of high schools had students enrolling in dual enrollment coursework in 2010-11. Research makes it clear that CTE dual enrollment courses improve outcomes for traditionally underserved students. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, March 2014)

NCLCE Schools of Success #5: Service-Learning may influence attendance, performance
In its fifth Schools of Success report, the National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement (NCLCE) looked at the relationships between students’ participation in service-learning and academic performance and school attendance. In several instances, the attendance of students who participated in service-learning activities was statistically higher than their peers who did not participate in service-learning. (Paul Baumann, ECS, March 2014)

States respond to school safety concerns with 2013 legislation
ECS conducted a scan of school safety-related laws passed in 2013 legislative sessions to better understand trends in policy. This report highlights the ongoing efforts of lawmakers to provide students with safe places to learn. (Micah Ann Wixom, ECS, February 2014)

States pass diverse slate of mental health legislation in 2013
This report provides summaries of 17 bills from 13 states that illustrate the diversity of mental health-related legislation passed in 2013 legislative sessions. In addition, it highlights other ECS resources related to mental health and suicide prevention. (Jennifer Thomsen, ECS, February 2014)

The Progress of Education Reform: What State Policymakers Need to Know about Funding Virtual Charter Schools
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform outlines the key differences and explores how states can change their funding systems to address the needs of this new type of public education. (Michael Griffith, ECS, February 2014)

States Grapple with Autism's Rising Tide
Autism Spectrum Disorders are the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. As states have struggled to respond to the phenomenon, they have formed task forces, created pilot programs and launched resource and support services. This report highlights some of what states are doing to address the issue. (Carol Kreck, ECS, February 2014)

Increasing Student Success in Dual Enrollment Programs: 13 Model State-Level Policy Components
ECS identified 13 model state-level policy components that may increase student participation and success in dual enrollment programs. These components fall under four broad categories: access, finance, ensuring course quality and transferability of credit. Examples of state laws containing these components are incorporated throughout this report. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, February 2014)

State Policies on Service-Learning
An update of state policies on service-learning showed that only Maryland and the District of Columbia require high school students to complete a specified number of hours in a service-learning or community-service activity to graduate. The policy scan was conducted to determine the degree to which service-learning has been institutionalized in the states. (Jennifer Thomsen, ECS, January 2014)

Service-Learning/Community Service Database Update
This online database is a compilation of state policies to support service-learning for K-12 students. From this database, you can generate profiles of the policies for service-learning in individual states and view 50-state reports on policies for service-learning. (Jennifer Thomsen, ECS, January 2014)

Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning (read the press release)
The purpose of this guidebook is to serve as a resource—a what’s next?—for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and other education leaders who want to put the “Six Proven Practices of Effective Civic Learning” in place but are not sure how to begin. (Lisa Guilfoile, Brady Delander, ECS, January 2014)

State School Accountability "Report Card" Database (read the press release)
This online database highlights trends in state-level school accountability systems, such as the use of school or district "report cards" and other measures aimed at informing parents about their children's schools. (Kathy Christie, ECS, January 2014)

State Pre-K Funding – 2013-14 Fiscal Year
For the second year in a row, even in the midst of continuing state budget constraints, policymakers are making significant investments in state-funded pre-K programs. (Bruce Atchison, Emily Workman, Michael Griffith, ECS, January 2014)


2013 (click to expand/collapse)

Policy analysis and documents

Dual Enrollment Database (read the press release)
This 50-state online database includes a state-by-state breakdown on 20 data points about dual enrollment as well as comprehensive state profiles. (Jennifer Dounay-Zinth, ECS, December 2013)

The Progress of Education Reform: English Language Learners
The latest issue of the Progress of Education Reform explores the research and data underscoring the urgency of better serving the growing English language learner (ELL) population, and highlights research and approaches that may inform state responses. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, December 2013)

2013 Legislative Session – P-3 Policies
ECS conducted a scan of enacted policies from the 2013 legislative sessions to capture the ongoing work that lawmakers across the country are engaging in to strengthen their P-3 systems. The diversity of policies seems to demonstrate state policymakers are increasingly recognizing that the developmental supports a child receives in the earliest years provide lifelong payouts for both child and community. This report provides summaries of 38 bills from 25 states that illustrate the breadth and depth of P-3 policies enacted in 2013 legislative sessions. (Emily Workman, ECS, Nov. 2013)

Iron Range Engineering
The third in a series on rural education issues, this brief looks at engineering education in northeastern Minnesota. A program called Iron Range Engineering keeps youth closer to home and provides local industry with a steady stream of engineers. The National Academy of Engineering called for such a school in 2005, but few programs left lecture-hall learning for hands-on until Iron Range made the switch. Before then, engineering education hadn't change in 60 years. (Carol Kreck, ECS, November 2013)

The Progress of Education Reform: Math in the Early Years
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform reveals five surprising findings about the strong relationship between early math instruction and later student achievement. Researchers have found that early knowledge of math not only predicts later success in math, but also predicts later reading achievement even better than do early reading skills. The paper concludes with implications and recommendations for state policy that will support the development of early math competencies and young children. (Doug Clements and Julie Sarama, University of Denver, October 2013)

States with Guaranteed College Admissions Policies for High School Graduates
This brief summarizes legislative and postsecondary system efforts to guarantee admission to college for high school students who meet prescribed standards. The methods for measuring eligibility for automatic admission vary widely across the 10 states that have such rules. The automatic admission standards are instructive because they represent a state or systemwide understanding of what constitutes postsecondary readiness. Further, these policies, when paired with common placement standards and a shared definition of college and career readiness could create true P-20 alignment in states. (Matthew Smith, ECS, October 2013)

Recent Changes to Postsecondary Governance in States: 2011-13
Between 2011 and 2013, five states transformed their postsecondary governance systems: California, Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. California disbanded its coordinating board, while the other four states modified the scope and roles of their coordinating boards. This document provides a brief summary of the governance reforms and links to relevant information sources. (Matthew Smith and Mary Fulton, ECS, September 2013)

State Textbook Adoption
With textbook adoption being an increasing important matter, the important selection process rests at either local or state control. (Vincent Scudella and Kyle Zinth, ECS, September 2013)

Key Findings and Recommendations of Recent Reports on Assisting Children of Military Personnel
This short report highlights the findings and recommendations of recent studies that quantify the needs of military children. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, September 2013)

Civic Education: Legislative Updates
While the role that civic education plays in public schools has been reduced in the past 50 years, the civic education field continues to make significant strides in identifying best practices for civic education. As evident in NCLCE's most recent 50-state policy scan, some states have recognized such best practices by enacting policy on "civics," "citizenship education," and "social studies." (Molly Ryan and Paul Baumann, ECS, September 2013)

Competency-Based Education: Who’s Doing What
There is a growing buzz regarding competency-based education, and this document is designed to direct policymakers to the various organizations that are furthering the concept of competency-based education. (Vincent Scudella, ECS, September 2013)

State Education Governance Models
Education governance structures differ from state to state and directly affect how education policy leaders interact. Understanding the differences between structures can help explain the education policy process in terms of how decisions are made and the how authority is divided. Forty-one of the 50 states fall into one of four general categories that describe how state boards of education are constituted and whether the chief state school officer is appointed or elected. (Vincent Scudella, ECS, August 2013)

Iowa Harvests the Wind for Economic Development, Education, and Innovation
Wind made up 25% of Iowa’s generated electricity in 2012, a bigger percentage than any other state. By the end of the year, Iowa had 5,137 megawatts of installed wind capacity, the third-highest in the nation. All that is about to change, and for the better. (Carol Kreck, ECS, August 2013)

The Progress of Education Reform: Who Pays the Tab for K-12 Education?
The purpose of careful selection of wealth measures in funding formulas is to ensure that state funding is directed toward those districts that cannot afford to fund public education. This issue of The Progress of Education Reform examines why measuring a district’s wealth by property values alone can be a problem. (Michael Griffith, ECS, August 2013)

Open Enrollment is on the Menu—But Can You Order It?
This paper concentrates on one aspect of school choice—open enrollment. Depending on the policy, open enrollment can offer a student's choice of schools within district boundaries (intradistrict choice) or schools outside of the boundaries of the district (interdistrict). State policymakers decide whether schools may choose to participate or whether they are required to participate. This report provides a 50-state analysis of open enrollment policies across the United States. (Marga Torrence Mikulecky, ECS, June 2013)

Open Enrollment Database Update
This database contains information about the state policies for open enrollment in each state. You can generate profiles of the state policies for open enrollment in individual states and view 50-state reports on state policies for open enrollment. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, June 2013)

Stories of Sustainability for Service-Learning Implementation
The latest Schools of Success issue brief, produced by the National Center for Learning and Citizenship (NCLC) at the Education Commission of the States (ECS), contains "stories of sustainability" in an effort to provide examples of what sustainability looks like through a variety of mechanisms and in a variety of school settings. Specifically, this brief identifies how the schools in the Schools of Success network created a culture and policy environment that will serve to sustain implementation of service-learning over time. (Paul Baumann, ECS, June 2013)

The Progress of Education Reform: Reimagining Business Involvement
Business thrives on the sure thing—the in-demand product, the new technology, the well-educated worker. Yet while new technologies and products have revolutionized the economy and our way of life, college graduates' workforce readiness has not kept pace. This issue of The Progress of Education Reform explores new models of business involvement that could substantially decrease private sector training costs and presents ways that policymakers can integrate these approaches into a coherent statewide engagement strategy. (Matthew Smith, ECS, June 2013).

NextDev Challenge: Assessment and Placement
The online NextDev Challenge event, hosted by the Education Commission of the States’ Getting Past Go remedial education project, solicited program ideas that could improve outcomes in developmental education. This assessment and placement brief examines bridge programs, review and test preparation, and assessment reforms. (Linda McTiernan and Mary Fulton, HCM Strategists and ECS, May 2013)

NextDev Challenge: Student Supports
The online NextDev Challenge event, hosted by the Education Commission of the States’ Getting Past Go remedial education project, solicited program ideas that could improve outcomes in developmental education. This student support brief examines tutoring and advising programs, and learning communities. (Linda McTiernan and Mary Fulton, HCM Strategists and ECS, May 2013)

NextDev Challenge: Instructional Delivery
The online NextDev Challenge event, hosted by the Education Commission of the States’ Getting Past Go remedial education project, solicited program ideas that could improve outcomes in developmental education. This instructional delivery brief examines accelerated and modular approaches, course sequencing redesign, and co-enrollment models. (Linda McTiernan and Mary Fulton, HCM Strategists and ECS, May 2013)

NextDev Challenge: Statewide Remedial Education Redesign
The online NextDev Challenge event, hosted by the Education Commission of the States’ Getting Past Go remedial education project, solicited program ideas that could improve outcomes in developmental education. This brief examines efforts in Colorado, West Virginia, and Tennessee to design and implement statewide remedial education reforms. (Linda McTiernan and Mary Fulton, HCM Strategists and ECS, May 2013)

Linking Education and Economic Development: A Very Local, Very Rural Vignette
McDowell County in West Virginia was once considered a wasteland. Now, it may become a beacon for other rural communities in dire straits thanks in part to Reconnecting McDowell. This paper, the first in a series examining rural education issues, examines the comprehensive, long-term effort to make educational improvement in McDowell County the route to a brighter economic future. Partners from business, foundations, government, nonprofit agencies, and labor have committed to seek solutions to McDowell’s complex problems—poverty, underperforming schools, drug and alcohol abuse, housing shortages, limited medical services, and inadequate access to technology and transportation. (Carol Kreck, ECS, May 2013)

High-Quality Service-Learning Opens the Door for Students’ Entry into STEM Fields
Based on a project that examined 19 schools, NCLC has gathered information on the relationship between STEM-focused service-learning and student interest and performance in STEM-related courses and careers. The findings of this evaluation suggest that STEM-related service-learning is a powerful tool for schools to use to drive student performance and interest in STEM fields. (Paul Baumann, ECS, May 2013)

Linking Service-Learning and the Common Core State Standards: Alignment, Progress, and Obstacles
These case studies examine whether and how four diverse sites are utilizing high-quality service-learning as a teaching strategy for implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The report also investigates what types of supports teachers and administrators need to effectively implement the Common Core using service-learning, which is a proven strategy for deeper learning. The authors found that what teachers and administrators interviewed need most at this juncture are guidance, support, and training on how to effectively integrate service-learning into Common Core implementation. (Lisa Guilfoile and Molly Ryan, ECS, April 2013)

School Attendance Age Limits
Most states have laws regarding the minimum and maximum ages when a person must be admitted to a public school by law without charge. Though some states have either not set a maximum age limit to which free education must be provided or have left that determination up to the local education agency, all states (including Washington, D.C.) have implemented laws setting minimum age limits. (Marga Mikulecky, Education Commission of the States, April 2013)

Compulsory School Age Requirements
The states vary in the number of years students are compelled to attend school—from a low of nine years to a high of 13 years. However, nearly half of all states allow children ranging from ages 14-18 to be exempt from the compulsory attendance requirement if they meet certain stipulations such as parent permission or the attainment of an alternative education. (Marga Mikulecky, Education Commission of the States, April 2013)

The Progress of Education Reform: The New Civics
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform provides a close look at the new civics—how it differs from previous practices, what it includes, how it is supported by research, and its implications for policy. (Paul Baumann and Molly Ryan, ECS, April 2013)

State Pre-K Funding: 2012-13 School Year
The Education Commission of the States reviewed policies across all 50 states to determine 2012-13 state expenditures on pre-K programs serving 4-year-olds. The goal of this analysis was to determine how state commitment to pre-K programs serving 4-year-olds fared during a flat budget year. Findings indicate that while 26 states cut K-12 funding in 2012-13, state funding for pre-K programs serving 4-year-olds increased by 3.6%. With increasing awareness of the impact quality early learning has on 3rd –grade reading proficiency, many states are preserving or even boosting their funding for pre-K. (Michael Griffith, ECS, April 2013)

Kindergarten Policy Characteristics
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) reviewed policies across all 50 states that ECS believes are significant markers in the quality of a state's kindergarten program. The goal of the report is to illustrate the implications of the presence of very diverse kindergarten policies, to raise questions about the implications of that diversity, and to encourage policymakers to consider the impact their state's policies have on children's future educational success. (Emily Workman, ECS, March 2013)

Inequalities at the Starting Line: State Kindergarten Policies
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) reviewed policies across all 50 states—policies that ECS believes are significant markers in the quality of a state's kindergarten program. The kindergarten report's findings highlight the significant diversity that exists in state kindergarten policies across and within states. The results reveal a system of providing the next generation with high-quality, full-day, everyday kindergarten that is highly unequal across the states. The goal of the report is to illustrate the implications of the presence of such diverse kindergarten policies, to raise questions about the implications of that diversity, and to encourage policymakers to consider the impact their state's policies have on children's future educational success. (Emily Workman, ECS, March 2013)

Number of Instructional Days/Hours in the School Year
An updated 50-state look at the minimum number of instructional days and/or hours in a school year and the start dates prescribed by law. While the majority of states require 180 days per year, the minimum hours necessary to count as an instructional day varies greatly. (Marga Mikulecky, ECS, March 2013)

The Progress of Education Reform: Career/Technical Education
This issue of the Progress of Education Reform identifies new approaches states are adopting to support career readiness for students. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, February 2013)

Moving the Needle on Degree Completion: The Legislative Role
The College Completion Agenda hinted at how legislators could initiate effective reform. This document, produced with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides a roadmap that state leaders can use to reach their goals and presents action-oriented policymaking models that could sustain reform. (Matthew Smith, ECS, February 2013)

Educators' Perceptions of How Schools Can Foster Successful Service-Learning
In 2010, the National Center for Learning and Citizenship (NCLC) established the Schools of Success, a national network of 19 schools that use service-learning as an instructional strategy. The schools were part of a three-year project to examine how the elements of service-learning might enhance key student outcomes, such as academic performance and civic engagement. Through this project, the NCLC also has gathered information on school administrators' and teachers’ perceptions of the facilitators and barriers to successful service-learning. In general, teachers and administrators identified lack of time as the most critical barrier to service-learning success. (Paul Baumann, ECS, February 2013)

Education-related proposals from the 2013 state of the state addresses

Resources for State Leaders Seeking to Improve School Safety
In the wake of the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, governors, legislators, and education leaders from across the country signaled their intentions to pursue legislation and policy to improve school safety. The purpose of this ECS Alert is to provide our constituents with quick access to resources and information on potential policies directly related to school safety. The following report contain descriptions and links, sorted by topic, from ECS and other organizations. (ECS, January 2013)

2012 (click to expand/collapse)

Policy analysis and documents

2012 Compilation of all ECS Policy Analysis, Databases, and Publications

The Progress of Education Reform: Teacher Expectations of Students
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform provides a review of the research on the relationship between teacher expectations and student achievement. It also explores how policy can be used to improve how schools are evaluating for, monitoring, and providing training to teachers on the potential negative effects of fixed teacher expectations. (Emily Workman, ECS, Dec. 2012)

2012 Gubernatorial Elections: Outcomes and Education Priorities
This ECS report outlines the results from the 11 states and two territories that held gubernatorial elections this year. The report presents selected education initiatives and legislation passed by incumbent governors, as well as highlights from newly elected governors’ education policy platforms. (Stephanie Rose, ECS, November 2012)

Education-Related Ballot Measures: 2012
This report provides the results from the 35 ballot initiatives in the November 2012 election that have either a direct effect on education policy in those states or could have an effect down the road. The initiatives listed include enacted legislation being presented to the public for approval and initiatives placed on the ballot through the petition process. (Emily Workman, ECS, November 2012)

NCLC Schools of Success Network Shows that Service-Learning Quality Matters
A new report about the National Center for Learning and Citizenship's Schools of Success program clearly points to at least one simple and clear conclusion: The quality of service-learning matters. Robust data from 19 schools across the country show that high-quality service-learning has a significant and positive relationship with students' academic engagement, educational aspirations, acquisition of 21st century skills, and community engagement. (Paul Baumann, ECS, November 2012)

Vouchers, Scholarship Tax Credits, and Individual Tax Credits and Deductions
This analysis provides details of the existing voucher, scholarship tax credit, and individual tax credit and deduction policies in the states, presents opposing viewpoints about them, briefly summarizes the existing research concerning these policies, and offers key policy questions for state leaders to consider (Emily Workman, ECS, October 2012)

Tuition-Setting Authority for Public Colleges and Universities
As appropriations to public postsecondary institutions continue to decline, state legislators and higher education leaders have considered the tuition-setting question. This ECS analysis categorizes tuition-setting authority by entity (e.g., legislature, system, institution) and by postsecondary sector (e.g., two- and four-year institutions). It shows that the majority of states vest tuition-setting authority in local institutional boards. (Kyle Zinth and Matthew Smith, Education Commission of the States, October 2012).

The Progress of Education Reform: Producing Quality Credentials
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform presents emerging research on the value of credentials and highlights ways that states can leverage data and accompanying strategies to strengthen the fit between the production of postsecondary credentials and workforce demand. (Matthew Smith, ECS, October 2012)

A Problem Still in Search of a Solution: A State Policy Roadmap for Improving Early Reading Proficiency
A Problem Still in Search of a Solution: A State Policy Roadmap for Improving Early Reading Proficiency
provides a framework to help state leaders and policymakers create more effective policies that will result in improved reading performance. (Kathy Christie and Stephanie Rose, ECS, September 2012)

Third Grade Reading Policies
This paper outlines state policies relating to 3rd-grade reading proficiency, including identification of, intervention for, and retention of struggling readers in the P-3 grades. The paper provides a state-by-state policy summary, sample statutory language, and highlights from bills enacted this year. (Stephanie Rose, ECS, August 2012)

The Progress of Education Reform: Technology in Early Education
The latest edition of The Progress of Education Reform, Technology in Early Education: Building Platforms for Connections and Content that Strengthen Families and Promote Success in School, outlines trends in digital media use by young children, examines effective teachers and libraries as partners, and provides guidelines for policymakers on building integrated technology platforms for early education. The paper, authored by Lisa Guernsey, Director of the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation, was featured at the 2012 ECS National Forum on Education Policy in a session on the appropriate use of technology in early childhood programs. ( July 2012)

Service-Learning After Learn and Serve America: How Five States Are Moving Forward
The elimination of funding for Learn and Serve America coupled with state budget shortfalls has prompted a transition period for the service-learning field. Advocates across the country are choosing to move beyond the devastating budget cut and seize the opportunity to refocus efforts to expand high-quality service-learning. This set of case studies aims to highlight policy and practice in several states where service-learning experts are designing and implementing agendas to maintain and advance statewide service-learning initiatives with no federal aid and no new state aid. (Molly Ryan, ECS, June 2012)

The Progress of Education Reform: Understanding State School Funding
Many policymakers view their state's school funding formula not as a tool for reform but as a barrier to change. Policymakers tend to view the way that their state funds schools as a byzantine system of rules, regulations and formulas that is only comprehendible to a handful of people. When policymakers don't understand the basics of their state’s funding system, it is difficult for them to determine what changes are needed to encourage innovation. This issue of The Progress of Education Reform sets out to ease some of the confusion by helping readers better understand these complex systems, with the hope that this knowledge will be used to help support education reform in the states. (Michael Griffith, ECS, June 2012)

Using State Policies to Ensure Effective Assessment and Placement in Remedial Education
Recent research has highlighted the limitations of commonly used assessments for placing students into remedial education. This policy brief by ECS’ Getting Past Go project examined state and postsecondary system policies that regulate assessment and placement in light of the emerging research. The paper suggests that states and systems could increase the success of underprepared students through more effective policies and practices. (Mary Fulton, Education Commission of the States, May 2012)

Choosing Who Delivers: The Impact of Placing Limits on the Delivery of Remedial Education at Four-Year Institutions
From ECS' Getting Past Go website, this brief examines state and system policies that limit four-year institutions from delivering developmental education and considered the potential impacts of these policies on student success. (Matthew Smith, ECS, 2012)

Reduction in Force Policies
This analysis highlights the primary factors considered in state "reduction in force" policies, in addition to any secondary and tertiary factors that are to be considered thereafter. It also draws attention to those states that strictly prohibit the consideration of tenure or seniority in layoff decisions, as well as those that permit tenure and/or seniority to be considered only when a tie-breaker is required for otherwise comparable teachers. (Emily Workman, ECS, April 2012)

Survey of State Approaches to Suicide Prevention in Schools
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Most states, however, have not been aggressive in enacting school specific suicide legislation. This paper briefly identifies the main policy approaches utilized by states. It then offers examples of some of the more rigorous state approaches, programs developed by nonprofits, and approaches evaluated as successful through research and practice. This survey will be helpful to anyone looking to be more aggressive at youth suicide prevention in schools. (Christopher Leahy, ECS, April 2012)

Service-Learning in the United States: Status of Institutionalization
Inclusion in state statute and code gives service-learning validity and stability, and ensures that it is not subject to the varying interests and priorities of specific leaders, according to a 50-state policy scan conducted by the National Center for Learning and Citizenship in 2011. The commitment of district and school leaders is important, though the priorities of and support from superintendents can differ, the report states. (Ann Rautio [please contact Brady Delander], ECS, March 2012)

Third Grade Literacy Policies: Identification, Intervention, Retention
This paper examines policies to promote 3rd-grade reading proficiency, including early identification of and intervention for struggling readers, as well as retention as an action of last resort. The authors outline case studies in both Florida and New York City, and identify decisions policymakers must consider as they implement policies around 3rd-grade literacy.(Stephanie Rose and Karen Schimke, ECS, March 2012)

50-State Mathematics Requirements for the Standard High School Diploma
Math graduation requirements: This report specifies the high school graduation requirements in math in the 50 states. It notes two growing trends in state-set math graduation requirements – the ever-larger number of states requiring four units of math to graduate, and the small but growing number of states specifying that a math course must be taken each year of high school or in the student's senior year. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, March 2012)

The Progress of Education Reform: Defining College Readiness
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform considers potential ways states might define “college readiness,” identifying for each approach: potential benefits, potential drawbacks and key components to consider. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, March 2012)

End of Course Exams
This report identifies the states with current or pending state-level end-of-course assessment (EOC) programs, the subjects in which EOCs are administered in the states, and the EOCs (if any) students must pass to graduate from high school. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, March 2012)

2012 State of the State Addresses: Governors' Top Education Issues
This analysis highlights the education issues prioritized by governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C. in their 2012 state of the state addresses. The state leaders explained that increasing the quality and availability of education, from preschool through postsecondary, was essential to recovering from the recession, spurring economic growth, remaining competitive, and to the health and well-being of each state's citizens. Top issues include Finance (K-12 & Postsecondary), Teaching Quality, Postsecondary Affordability/Access, School Choice, Workforce Development, Early Learning (P-3), and Reading and Literacy. (Emily Workman, ECS, March 2012)

Teacher Evaluator Training: Ensuring Quality Classroom Observers
This paper addresses the subject of ensuring quality classroom evaluations of teachers through the use of trained observers. Specifically, the paper provides examples of local and state approaches to training the individuals responsible for observing and evaluating teachers. (Christopher Leahy, ECS, March 2012)

State Aid to Nonpublic Schools
This document identifies state nonpublic school aid other than tax benefits, vouchers and alternative tuition programs. (Christopher Leahy, ECS, March 2012)

The Progress of Education Reform: Civic Engagement through Digital Citizenship
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform includes a closer look at the characteristics of digital natives and provides a summary of research about digital natives' civic engagement habits and the implications of this research for education policy aimed at promoting digital citizenship for today’s youth. (Paul Baumann, ECS, February 2012)

12 for 2012
12 for 2012 is an ECS “read of the field,” built on our scrutiny of new reports and research, and our analysis of emerging drivers of change. The 12 policy areas do not represent an exhaustive list of the critical issues for the coming year, nor is this report intended to dictate your education policy priorities for 2012. Rather, 12 for 2012 is intended to stimulate thinking around how best to craft the “2.0” of powerful policy across the states. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, 2012)

Kindergarten Entrance Ages: Highlights
Updates the 2011 Statenote on Kindergarten entrance ages. [please contact Stephanie Rose]

2011-12 Federal Budget: Department of Education Overview
Provides an overview of the 2011-12 federal education budget, identifies programs that experienced significant funding changes from last year’s budget, and breaks out 2011 vs. 2012 appropriations for key federal programs. (Emily Workman, ECS, January 2012)

2011 (click to expand/collapse)

Policy analysis and documents

State Collective Bargaining Policies for Teachers
Collective bargaining for teachers is a contentious issue that promises to grow increasingly complex as governance reform — changing who makes what decisions about public education – takes center stage. Collective bargaining, if a state allows it, always occurs at the school district level. State policy, however, influences the process in a number of ways, from determining the scope of bargaining to dictating the terms of arbitration. This ECS StateNote presents the current collective bargaining state policies across the 50 states. (Updated December 2011, Emily Workman)

The Road to High-Quality Early Education
Quality in early childhood programs will be essential if children are to be proficient readers at the end of 3rd grade. This brief highlights Colorado’s efforts to create structures and governance to support quality. A second part of the brief describes one classroom-level approach to achieving high-quality early education. (December 2011, Karen Schimke and Stephanie Rose)

Bullying and Open Enrollment
Some state anti-bullying policies require districts to adopt strategies to protect students who have been bullied from further victimization. A few states go one step further, adopting specialized interdistrict transfer policies to allow victims of bullying to enroll in another school district, or allowing for the transfer of bullies themselves. This report describes state policies to allow bullying victims, or bullies themselves, to transfer to another school or district. (November 2011, Jennifer Dounay Zinth)

Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault Policies
ECS recently compiled a table of state policies relating to sexual abuse or sexual harassment. While not a comprehensive listing, it provides a good snapshot of how states are addressing this issue. (ECS Information Clearinghouse, November 2011)

Appeal Processes: State Teacher Evaluation Systems
With a new generation of higher-stake teacher evaluations, pressure for checks and balances is growing. This document highlights provisions that allow for some level of appeal of a teacher’s evaluation. (November 2011, Kathy Christie)

State Responses to the Increasing Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are the fastest growing developmental disorders. In recognizing the increasing needs of children affected by ASDs as well as the associated financial implications for local governments, some states have begun re-assessing their current systems of support and looking for better and more efficient ways to serve individuals with ASD and their families. This ECS StateNote presents examples of initiatives states have taken to better serve this growing population. (November 2011, Emily Workman)

PreK-Grade 3 Reading and Literacy Practices That Matter
This Research Review is a snapshot of five recent research studies that address reading and literacy in the early grades. The studies examine topics such as: parental investment in education, instructional practices in a balanced literacy approach, late-emerging reading difficulties, phonics and integrated language arts, and family literacy programs. (October 2011, Molly Ryan)

Choosing How to Lead: A Transfer Agenda for the 21st Century
The agenda document proposes five steps to improve student mobility and progression through the postsecondary system. The agenda is so fundamentally important because it opens a dialogue on how legislators might lead on the issue of transfer. Whether a legislature mediates, coordinates, delegates, evaluates or adopts, it is important that policymakers choose how to lead to initiate a broader reform of transfer and articulation practice. (October 2011, Matthew Smith)

Estimating the Impact of the American Jobs Act
On September 12, President Obama submitted the “American Jobs Act of 2011” (AJA) to the U.S. Congress. The AJA contains $450 billion in tax cuts and spending programs designed to spur employment. This alert discusses the details of the proposal. (September 2011, Michael Griffith)

State Anti-Bullying Policies: A National Landscape
This PowerPoint presentation outlines anti-bullying policies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Presentation was made to the 2011 National Conference of State Legislators Legislative Summit in San Antonio, Texas on August 9, 2011. (August 9, 2011, Jennifer Dounay Zinth)

Number of Instructional Days/Hours in the School Year
This ECS StateNote answers: How long is the school year? When does school begin? How long does a day need to be to count as a “full day” of instruction? (Updated August 2011, Melodye Bush, Molly Ryan and Stephanie Rose)

Teacher Tenure or Continuing Contract Laws
More state legislatures are beginning to embed teacher performance evaluation in decisions to grant tenure or to explicitly state the terms of contracts. And an increasing number of states are distinguishing between renewal at the end of a teacher’s contract and dismissal during the term of a contract. This document updates ECS’ 50-state look at teacher tenure and continuing contract laws. (Updated August 2011, Kathy Christie and Jennifer Dounay Zinth)

State-Set Limits on Superintendent Contracts
Costly superintendent contract buy-outs and early terminations are increasingly in the news. This compilation captures both the landscape of current state policy and new elements that could help limit potential taxpayer liability and promote transparency in district leader contracts. (August 2011, Kathy Christie)

Early Warning Indicator Systems
Boosting high school graduation rates is a growing concern to educators and policymakers. Research shows that students who fail to graduate high school exhibit clear signs of dropping out. Access to student data has prompted state and school district officials across the country to develop “early warning indicator systems” to efficiently identify students who are at risk of dropping out and provide targeted supports to get them back on track and graduate. This Statenote highlights the statewide early warning indicator systems in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Alabama and the Philadelphia Public Schools district-wide system. (July 2011, Molly Ryan)

A State Policymaker’s Guide to Expanding Learning Time
A joint project between the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the National Center on Time and Learning (NCTL). (Summer 2011) (Full report: Learning Time in America: Trends to Reform the American School Calendar)

Kindergarten Entrance Ages: A 35-Year Trend Analysis
There has been a trend in the states over the last 35 years to establish a cutoff date earlier in the year for children entering kindergarten. This ECS StateNote examines the trend, providing changes for each state since 1975. (Updated May 2011, Melodye Bush [please contact Emily Workman] and Kyle Zinth)

Kindergarten Entrance Ages: Highlights
Over the past 35 years, there has been a definite trend in state policy support for a September or earlier cutoff date for kindergarten entrance. Charts included in this document show: 1) The 35-year trend for policy adoption by month; 2) The current popularity of specific cutoff dates within the month of September; and 3) Which states have adopted a September or earlier start date since 1975. (May 2011, Kyle Zinth)

What Savings are Produced by Moving to a Four-Day School Week?
Because of the economic downturn more districts than ever are moving to a four-day school week, but the question still exists — what cost savings, if any, will this move produce? Making use of national and local spending data, this report shows what savings a district might realistically expect to realize when moving to a four-day week. (May 2011, Michael Griffith)

Governors: Seeking Greater Control over Education
The past year has seen a variety of proposed legislation or gubernatorial actions to give governors a greater role in education policymaking. This paper contains a summary of completed or proposed action in this vein, followed by a discussion on the political and education policy impacts such changes may have. (Updated April 2011, Jennifer Dounay Zinth)

Truancy and Habitual Truancy Examples of State Definitions
For the most part, compulsory attendance laws do not specify the number of times a student must be truant before sanctions (also part of the compulsory attendance laws) are enforced. This ECS StateNote provides examples of states where truancy and habitual truancy are defined at the state level. (Updated April 2011, Dinah Frey)

Legislative Commissions & Task Forces: Developing Strategies to Meet Completion & Workforce Challenges
This policy brief studies task forces and commissions with college completion, workforce and economic development charges. More than 35 states have established at least one such commission since 2006. ECS identified common elements of these bodies, including purposes, charges and authority, membership and deliverables, and found that legislatures are using task forces to develop and implement college completion strategies. (April 2011, Matthew Smith)

What Policymakers Need to Know: Highlights of State Charter School Laws
This ECS StateNote provides information on seven key areas of charter school policy: (1) Charter School Caps; (2) Charter School is its Own LEA; (3) Source of Charter School Funding; (4)Charter School Facilities Assistance; (5)Charter School Teacher Certification; (6)Charter School Bound By Collective Bargaining Agreements; and (7) Charter School Renewal Appeals Process. (March 2011, Molly Ryan)

State Policy Approaches to Reducing Truancy
This ECS StateNote examines state truancy policy to determine: (1) When an “absence” becomes “truancy”; (2) Distinctions between early grades upper grades; (3) Consequences for parents and secondary-level students; (4) How schools are being held accountable for encouraging and enforcing attendance; and (5) How schools are being more proactive to end truancy. (March 2011, Dinah Frey [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth] )

P-20 Governance
This StateNote identifies states in which K-12 and postsecondary governance has been fully or partially consolidated in a single entity. The report also identifies where early learning falls under the purview of an entity that administers both K-12 and higher education. (January 2011, Jennifer Dounay Zinth)

Accountability & Continuous Improvement in Remedial Education
Getting Past Go (GPG) analyzed accountability and continuous improvement policies for remedial education in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in a new policy brief. To give context to the policy research, GPG analyzed four state efforts to implement a cohesive and aligned accountability system. Each of the four states– Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington–leveraged research and existing resources to align strategies with goals and measures. Although each state approaches accountability from various angles, the initiatives share a similar goal: improving college readiness and increasing completion rates. (Bruce Vandal, January 2011)

The Progress of Education Reform

Pre-K-12 Literacy
This issue examines: 1) low Pre-K-12 literacy levels nationally, especially for low-income and diverse student populations; 2) trends in U.S. students’ reading proficiency since the 1970s; 3) the negative impacts correlated with low reading levels; and 4) policy recommendations for improving literacy instruction and achievement, particularly in the early grades. (Karen Schimke, December 2011)

More on Pay-for-Performance
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform describes “pay-for-performance” (PFP) models and presents recent research findings and their implications for policy. It looks at PFP systems broadly and includes not only systems that provide rewards for increased student achievement, but also for other tasks such as engaging in professional development and taking on added roles and responsibilities. (October 2011, Barbara Thompson and Paul Baumann)

Higher Education Reform
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform looks at recent research in the areas of assessing student learning, the use of technology in instruction, and models for providing the academic and social support students need to stay on track and earn a postsecondary credential. (Bruce Vandal, August 2011)

Credit Recovery and Proficiency-Based Credit
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform will address the following questions: 1) What is credit recovery? What is proficiency-based credit? 2) How is credit recovery different from traditional remediation? 3) Why does providing for these options matter for high school completion? 4) How widespread are these options across the states? And what do state policies look like? 5) What are the challenges in implementing credit recovery and proficiency-based credit programs? 6) What does the research say on the effectiveness of credit recovery and proficiency-based credit? 7) What are the essential policy components? (June 2011, Jennifer Dounay Zinth)

A Promise Unfulfilled
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform examines inequities in how Title I funds are distributed, and proposes changes that address three key factors. (April 2011, Michael Griffith)

STEM Performance
This issue of ECS’ The Progress of Education Reform identifies promising and research-based approaches for enhancing student interest and achievement in STEM disciplines, including approaches that come with a smaller state-budget price tag. (February 2011, Jennifer Dounay Zinth)

2010 (click to expand/collapse)

Policy analysis and documents

State Characteristics: Kindergarten
This ECS StateNote examines key components of each state’s kindergarten policy, including: the lower compulsory age; entrance age; if districts must offer; and if students must attend. (By Melodye Bush [please contact Emily Workman], December 2010)

State Kindergarten Statutes: State Profiles
State profiles of kindergarten policies. (Updated December 2010)

What Governors Need to Know: Highlights of State Education Systems
This multistate compilation includes states’ number of operating districts, average students per district, per-student spending, free or reduced-price lunch eligible students, percent of K-12 revenue from state sources, state and local school revenue, full-day kindergarten requirements, compulsory school ages and more. (Updated by Kyle Zinth and Melodye Bush [please contact Emily Workman], December 2010)

Transfer and Articulation Policies
An increase in the number of transfer and articulation policies over the past decade demonstrates that state legislatures and higher education governing boards have recognized the need for such policies. At least two-thirds of states have one or more of the following: Enabling legislation; Cooperative system or institutional agreements; websites devoted to clearly articulating transfer policy; or a transferable common core. (Matthew Smith, December 2010)

PreK-Grade 3: Which Reading and Literacy Practices Matter Most?
The compilation of research studies summarized in this document address reading and literacy in grades Pre-K-3rd. (Molly Ryan, December 2010)

Iowa’s Statewide Professional Development Model
Iowa’s approach to professional development is distinctive because it is statewide and comprehensive; it addresses development of school leaders as well as teachers; it fosters engagement of all teachers, not just those who choose to participate; and it centers around student learning. (Dinah Frey [please contact Kathy Christie], November 2010)

State Service-Learning Websites
(November 2010)

Kentucky School-Based Family Support: Twenty Years Later
Kentucky was the first state to require the establishment of Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSC), entities that coordinate a network of resources for students and families in neighborhoods where 20% or more of the students qualify for federal free- and reduced-price meals. This StateNote provides details of this statewide model. (Dinah Frey [please contact Kathy Christie], November 2010)

Improving Hispanic Achievement: Implications for State Policy
On October 19, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating a presidential advisory commission on Hispanic education. Many ECS constituents are deeply committed to improving educational outcomes for Hispanics. This ECS Alert contains a sampling of ECS policy tracking, analysis and research syntheses aimed at helping state policymakers work towards this important goal. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, October 2010)

Measuring Adequate Yearly Progress: What “Other” Indicators Count Besides Reading and Math?
NCLB calls for one “other” academic indicator to count toward the calculation of AYP. At the high school level that indicator was the graduation rate. At the elementary and middle school levels, states could select any additional measure. This ECS StateNote hopes to deepen that understanding by raising awareness of each state’s “other” academic indicator and its accompanying target. (Dinah Frey [please contact Kathy Christie], September 2010)

State Teacher Tenure/Continuing Contract Laws
States address the issue of teacher dismissal in various ways. Some have eliminated the term tenure (i.e., Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Florida); some have repealed tenure and tightened the due process timelines (i.e., Oklahoma); others have retained tenure provisions but streamlined the due process provisions (i.e., Michigan, Connecticut); and one state (Wisconsin) has stipulated the collective bargaining process as the means of determining tenure policies at the local school district level. (Updated by Dinah Frey [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], September 2010)

Race to the Top Round II Winners
Today, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced 10 Race to the Top (RttT) round II winners. Almost $3.4 billion remains in RttT federal funds and should be awarded to the 10 winning round II applicants by October. Two states, Delaware and Tennessee won grants in round I of the competition earlier this year. Secretary Duncan stated in that “[w]e’re very hopeful there will be a Phase 3 of Race to the Top and have requested $1.35 billion dollars in next year’s budget” to continue the grant competition. (Molly Ryan, August 2010)

Summary of EduJobs and State-by-State Estimates of Its Impact
(Michael Griffith, August 2010)

An Update on:Estimating the Impact of the EduJobs Proposal on States
H.R. 1586 has recently passed the United States Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives. This bill would establish a program, commonly referred to as EduJobs, which would provide $10 billion to states to create or save education positions in K-12 public schools. This ECS Alert covers some of the details of the legislation. (Michael Griffith, August 2010)

What Impacts Student Success in College Persistence and Completion?
This Research Review is a compilation of research study summaries that address postsecondary success and completion. The recent studies address topics such as: transfer rates, pathways to degrees, declining completion rates and student engagement. (Molly Ryan, August 2010)

Race to the Top Round II Finalists
Today, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced 19 Race to the Top (RttT) Round II finalists in a press conference with the National Press Club. The 19 finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. during the week of August 9 to present their proposals to the RttT judges. Winners will be announced by early September and awards should be dispersed by October. (July 2010)

An Update on: Estimating the Impact of the EduJobs Proposal on States
This ECS StateNote updates information on the proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives would create an “education jobs fund” which many are calling the EduJobs program. This program would provide $22.47 billion to states to create or save education positions in K-12 public schools. (Michael Griffith, July 2010)

Proposed Cuts in Race to the Top Funding: Potential Impact on States
This briefing memo summarizes recent Race to the Top developments and breaks down the remaining funds available to round II applicants before and after the House’s proposed $500 million budget cut. ECS estimates the number of states that could receive round II funding, and the potential impact on states of the proposed budget cut. (Stephanie Rose, July 2010)

Pay for Performance Proposals in Race to the Top Round II Applications
The Education Commission of the States reviewed all 36 Race to the Top (RttT) Round II applications. Each of the 36 states that applied for Round II funding referenced pay for performance under the heading of “Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance.” The majority of states outlined pay for performance initiatives to be implemented upon receipt of RttT funds. Key takeaways from the 36 applications are reviewed in this paper. (Stephanie Rose, July 2010)

Teacher Evaluation: New Approaches for a New Decade
Whether spurred by the hope of Race to the Top funds or the research showing that students in ineffective teachers’ classrooms do not make the academic gains of children taught by more effective educators, a number of states have enacted legislation in the last year to amend teacher evaluation policies. This ECS policy brief provides highlights of these new provisions. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, June 2010)

Compulsory School Age Requirements
This ECS StateNote lists compulsory school attendance ages for each state. (Updated by Melodye Bush [please contact Emily Workman], Last Updated June 2010)

“Ahead-of-the-Curve” Charter School Policies
Whether motivated by the desire to secure Race to the Top funds or other state policy initiatives, a number of states have recently enacted legislation to promote charter school growth. This ECS StateNote provides highlights of several “ahead-of-the-curve” state policy approaches. (Molly Ryan, June 2010)

An Update on: Estimating the Impact of the EduJobs Proposal on States
This ECS StateNote updates information on the proposal in the United States House of Representatives would create an “education jobs fund” which many are calling the EduJobs program. This program would provide $22.47 billion to states to create or save education positions in K-12 public schools. (Michael Griffith, May 2010)

State Procedural Due Process Provisions for Out-of-School Suspensions
In its 1975 ruling on Goss v. Lopez, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students had a right to due process protections under the U.S. Constitution for out-of-school suspensions that were less than 10 days. This ECS Highlights document summarizes a recent study by Perry Zirkel and Mark Covelle that examined state laws in the wake of the Goss decision. (Kyle Zinth [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], May 2010)

Helping Students Get a Head Start on the “Real World”: State Strategies for Early High School Graduation
This ECS Policy Brief considers several policy approaches to facilitate (or incentivize) early graduation and provides caveats and essential policy components for these various approaches: (1) Proficiency-based credit; (2) Virtual high schools; (3) Completion of high school-level material before grade 9; (4)”Dual enrollment plus”: Programs that allow students who may have completed high school graduation requirements early to enroll full-time in postsecondary or career/technical courses; and (5) Scholarship incentives for early graduation. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, May 2010)

Teacher Salaries and Benefits 2003–08
This ECS StateNote examines National Center for Education Statistics figures on salary and benefit statistics for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. (Stephanie Rose, May 2010)

International School Finance
Public interest has put significant focus on how the United States education system compares with those around the world. This ECS StateNote uses data collected and published by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to show how America’s school funding system compares with other developed countries’ systems from around the world. (Michael Griffith, April 2010)

Estimating the Number of Jobs Created or Saved
On April 14, a bill was introduced in the United States Senate that would create an “education jobs fund.” This program would provide $23 billion to states to create or save education positions in both K-12 public schools and public institutes of higher education (IHE). This document reviews the details of the legislation. (Michael Griffith, April 2010)

Class-Size Policies
The logic behind keeping class size low is powerful: The fewer kids that teachers have to deal with in a classroom, the thinking goes, the more time they can focus on delivering high-quality individualized instruction. This ECS StateNote examines the characteristics and popularity of two similar approaches that states have chosen to keep classes small by using one of two approaches: Placing caps on the number of students that may be in one classroom; and enacting initiatives to reduce class size. (Kyle Zinth [please contact Kathy Christie], April 2010)

Investing in Innovation Fund - Update
(March 2010)

Investing in Innovation Fund
Updates information about the i3 grants. Provides the timeline, the application grading scale and information about the cost-sharing or matching. The i3 grants are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and are directed toward individual school districts or groups of school districts and entrepreneurial nonprofits partnering with school districts. Although states are not eligible to apply, there may be ways in which states could assist districts or consortiums with their grant applications. (Molly Ryan, March 2010)

Race to the Top Finalists Named
Today the United States Department of Education (USDoE) announced 15 states and the District of Columbia as finalists for the first round of the $4 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) competitive grant program. (Michael Griffith, March 2010)

The Progress of Education Reform

Teacher Leaders: Boosting Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform discusses the roles teacher leaders can play; how they can contribute to overall school and student success; how some states are formally supporting teacher leaders and the concept of teacher leadership; and policy implications and recommendations for state policymakers on how to explore and/or expand teacher leadership in their states. (Barbara Thompson, December 2010)

Citizenship Education: Educating Students to be Competent and Responsible Citizens and Leaders
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform examines research on what constitutes citizenship education, how citizenship education contributes to the acquisition of 21st century skills and civic learning opportunity and achievement gaps. (Jennifer Piscatelli [please contact Lisa Guilfoile], October 2010)

Investing in College Completion: Research that supports the redeployment of limited resources
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform summarizes recent research that may challenge conventional wisdom on how and where public resources for postsecondary education should be dedicated in an effort to increase college completion rates. Questions to be examined include: 1) How did changes in enrollments and the allocation of resources result in declining college completion rates in the United States? 2) Do shifting enrollments to community colleges save money in the long run? and 3) Can investments in student services rather than instruction increase college completion? (Bruce Vandal, August 2010)

Teacher Merit Pay: What Do We Know?
The idea of merit pay programs for educators has been around for several decades and it is starting to be implemented in a growing number of districts around the country. But we have to ask: What do we really know about the impact of merit pay on students? This issue of The Progress for Education Reform looks at what impact some of these merit programs have had on student learning. (Michael Griffith, June 2010)

End-of-Course Exams: A growing trend in high school-level assessments
In recent years, criticism of high school graduates’ lack of readiness for college and work has led a number of states to raise high school graduation requirements — particularly in terms of the number and rigor of courses students must pass. This issue of The Progress of Education Reform addresses end-of-course assessments at the high school level. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, April 2010)

Chronic Early Absence: Providing solutions for increasing achievement in the early grades and preventing school drop-out
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform looks at two recent research studies on the issue of chronic early absence and addresses the following: 1) What are the impacts of chronic early absence? 2) Why has it been overlooked? What contributes to chronic early absence? and 3) What can be done to reduce chronic absence in the early grades? (Mimi Howard [please contact Karen Schimke, February 2010)

Getting Past Go Project

Rebuilding the Remedial Education Bridge to College Success
In this paper, Getting Past Go describes the current policy landscape for remedial education, explores the critical policy levers that guide the delivery of remedial education on college campuses and studies how policy has either facilitated or impeded innovation in the delivery of remedial education. It outlines some initial findings from the work to date and offers a proposed framework for further study of state and system policy related to remedial education. (Bruce Vandal, May 2010)

State Reporting on Developmental Education: Analysis of Findings
This analysis incorporates our initial overview, a detailed review of the reports and an online “Jam” — or discussion — that took place among state and higher education leaders. (Mary Fulton, April, 2010)

 
2009 (click to expand/collapse)

Policy analysis and documents

Proposed State Uses of Stabilization Funding
This ECS Alert examines stabilization funding and includes information on front-loading of funds versus actual spending, splitting education funds and state variation on planned expenditures of government service issues. (Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, November 2009)

Answering Questions About What Works in Improving Low-Performing Schools and Districts
This ECS Research Review summarizes six research studies addressing school improvement. (Molly Ryan, Education Commission of the States, November 2009)

Maximum P-12 Class-Size Policies
The majority of states--36--currently have at least one policy via statute or regulation at the state level that places a limit on the number of students that may be in any one general-education classroom. This ECS StateNote examines these policies. (Kyle Zinth [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, November 2009)

Four-Day School Week
As school districts nationwide struggle with funding cuts, the four-day school week has gained momentum as one way to save money. This ECS StateNote examines measures in the states that authorize eliminating one instructional day per week from the school calendar. (Molly Ryan, Education Commission of the States, November 2009)

Light at the End of the Tunnel
It appears that the nation’s economy is on the mend. For example, a recent report from the United States Federal Reserve points out several signs of a recovery. However, the speed of the recovery is still in question and it is hard to predict how quickly education spending, in particular, will recover. This ECS Policy Alert examines the economic flow-chart for education spending. (Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, October 2009)

Investing in Innovation Fund
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently announced the proposed priorities for grants under the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund (i3 grants). Although these funds are directed toward individual school districts or groups of school districts, this Alert presents ways in which states could assist districts or consortiums with their grant applications. (Molly Ryan, Education Commission of the States, October 2009)

State Policies on Homeschooling
Although every state allows some form of homeschooling, most states do regulate it in some manner. This ECS StateNote identifies: (1) Educational qualifications for homeschool instructors; (2) testing or evaluation requirements for homeschooled students; (3) examples of state policy language pertaining to assessing homeschooled students; and (4) links to state department of education homeschool Web pages. (Mary Fulton, Education Commission of the States, October 2009)

Progress and Gaps in College Preparation Policy
Stagnant college completion rates, high postsecondary remediation rates—and the high costs associated with postsecondary remediation—make clear that better alignment is needed between K-12 and postsecondary. This ECS Perspective sets forth four policy levers necessary for true reform to take place, and evaluates state progress to date in each of the four areas. (Michael W. Kirst, Stanford University, October 2009)

Noteworthy State Legislation for Improving Career and Technical Education
States have been working to increase the rigor and effectiveness of career and technical education to both meet the needs of their students and to address the workforce needs of the state and the nation. This StateNote, while not exhaustive, highlights efforts in the states that appear to be "ahead of the curve" in state policy approaches. (Melodye Bush [please contact Matthew Smith], Education Commission of the States, September 2009)

State Policies Focusing on Class-size Reduction
This document updates a 2005 ECS StateNote, providing a detailed look at class-size reduction initiatives in 23 states, including information about funding and legislative provisions. (Kyle Zinth [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, September 2009)

State Initiatives Regarding Electronic or Open Source Textbooks
A growing number of states are using legislation as a means of enabling the use of electronic or open source textbooks. This ECS StateNote examines the differences between e-textbooks and open-source textbooks and takes a look at related action in several states. (Noe Cisneros, Education Commission of the States, September 2009)

Exemplary State Online Resources for Students, Career Explorers and Adult Learners
This ECS StateNote takes a look at several exemplary state online resources for students, career explorers and adult learners. (Kathy Christie, Education Commission of the States, August 2009)

ECS High School Resources and Services
This two-page document describes the variety of resources and services ECS offers to answer state leaders' questions about high school, transitions to postsecondary, and P-16/P-20 alignment. ([please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, July 2009)

A Few Bad Apples: Diploma Mills and Fraudulent Academic Credentials
Although diploma mills claim to be institutions of higher education, they exist for profit only and grant fraudulent degrees, diplomas or other academic credentials without requiring degree recipients to obtain proper qualifications. Both students and employers need to have some protection. Protections for consumers and protections for employers are highlighted in this ECS State Note. (Mallory Dose [please contact Mary Fulton], Education Commission of the States, June 2009)

Driving Education Reform with Stimulus Funds Redesigning Schools and Expanding Learning Time
Lengthening the school day can enable policymakers to address several education challenges through one reform strategy. These challenges include: (1) closing the unrelenting achievement gap; (2) broadening curriculum options in order to better engage students and counter the dropout crisis; and (3) the need to improve teacher skills. (Jennifer Davis and Kathy Christie, National Center on Time & Learning and the Education Commission of the States, June 2009)

An American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding Opportunity: Redesigning Remedial and Developmental Education
This ECS Alert describes the various sources of ARRA funds and offers suggestions for how states and postsecondary institutions might use this funding for one-time investments in education technology and curriculum development. Such investments would help meet the education and training needs of the growing dislocated worker population while also increasing the long-term level of institutional productivity. (Bruce Vandal, Education Commission of the States, June 2009)

State Budget Shortfalls: Postsecondary Education Impacts
Prior to the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), states faced budgetary shortfalls that forced cuts to postsecondary budgets. Since the passage of ARRA, state agencies and postsecondary education staff are relieved that many postsecondary budget cuts can be restored. However, caution should be used when spending State Fiscal Stabilization Funds on programs or positions that require recurring funds. If states are not careful and thoughtful about how stabilization money is spent, they will face similar financial issues in two years. (Kristen Maloney, Education Commission of the States, May 2009)

Compulsory School Age Requirements
This ECS StateNote lists compulsory school attendance ages for each state. (Education Commission of the States, Updated May 2009)

State Guidance: Responding to the H1N1 Flu
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have created a framework to assist schools and districts in developing and/or improving plans to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic. Following the framework are examples of action that state policy leaders can take to assist schools and districts. (Molly Ryan, Education Commission of the States, May 2009)

Maximizing Reform in the Stimulus Bill: Supporting Effective Early Education
Countless studies have shown that high-quality pre-kindergarten programs narrow achievement gaps and produce long-term gains in student learning and educational attainment. States have made substantial investments in pre-K and other early education programs over the past decade. But current state budget shortfalls threaten states’ progress in improving access to high-quality early education programs. This ECS Briefing Memo argues that the solution is to use ARRA funds to creatively support quality early education programs. (Sara Mead, The New America Foundation and the Education Commission of the States, May 2009)

International Benchmarking
Comparisons of U.S. schools and those in top-performing counties have proliferated in the past few years. The paper reports on a handful of potential drivers on which leaders might consider spending time: (1) time spent learning; (2) establishing world-class standards; (3) teacher selection and preparation; (4) professional development; (5) assessment and curriculum review. (Melodye Bush [please contact Emily Workman], Education Commission of the States, May 2009)

State ARRA Web Sites
The following table provides links to ARRA education-related Web pages developed by state executive branches (governor's office or a delegated agency) and state education agencies (SEA). Where states have two ARRA-related websites — both sites are listed. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, April 2009)

Maximizing Education Reform in the Stimulus Bill: Enhancing Summer Learning Programs
A joint paper from the Education Commission of the States and the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University identifies how states can use summer learning programs to maximize new federal funds while also increasing their chances of receiving additional federal funding through the Race to the Top awards program. (Jeff Smink and Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States and National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, April 2009)

Issues in Funding Summer School Programs
To better understand how, or if, states fund summer school programs ECS reviewed the education funding formulas of 11 states with policies supporting summer school. Of the 11 states in the study, only one did not provide any state funding stream for summer school programs. ECS found that the remaining 10 states provided funding in two distinct ways: (1) through a state’s primary funding formula; or (2) Through categorical funding. (Michael Griffith and Kyle Zinth, Education Commission of the States, April 2009)

Summer School Policy Detail Chart (attachment for Issues in Funding Summer School Programs)
Michael Griffith and Kyle Zinth, Education Commission of the States, April 2009

Maximizing Education Reform in the Stimulus Bill: Building State Innovation Funds
As states prepare for the disbursement of billions of dollars from the stimulus’ stabilization fund, many state officials are grappling with how to best simultaneously shore up district budget deficits and maximize the opportunity to reform policies and practices that impede student achievement. Education Commission of the States (ECS) and Teach for America (TFA) have produced an idea paper for states to consider as each begins this important work. (Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, March 2009)

Race to the Top: Promising Approaches to Achieving College- and Career-Ready Goals (Goal 1)
Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, March 2009

Race to the Top: Promising Approaches to Establishing Meaningful Data Systems Fostering Continuous Improvement (Goal 2)
Kathy Christie, Jennifer Dounay Zinth and Melodye Bush, Education Commission of the States, March 2009

Race to the Top: Promising Approaches to Achieving Teacher-Related Goals (Goal 3)
Kathy Christie, Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Barbara Thompson, Molly Ryan and Melodye Bush, Education Commission of the States, March 2009

Race to the Top: Promising Approaches to Assisting the Lowest-Performing Schools (Goal 4)
Kathy Christie, Jennifer Dounay Zinth and Melodye Bush, Education Commission of the States, March 2009

Race to the Top: Promising State Models
Through the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the U.S. Department of Education will conduct a national competition among states for a $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" incentive program designed to push states to improve education quality and results. The Race to the Top fund will help drive substantial gains in student achievement by supporting states that make dramatic progress on four reform goals outlined in the ARRA. Race to the Top grants will be awarded in two rounds — fall 2009 and spring 2010. This overview document provides links to legislation and other state sources highlighted in ECS’ March 2009 "Race to the Top" Briefing Memos on Goals 1, 2, 3 and 4. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, March 2009)

ECS Policy Alert: Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The "Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" contains almost $100 billion in new federal education spending. ECS staff have produced a short summary of the bill to help state policymakers better understand its implications. (Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, February 2009)

State Budget Shortfalls: Examples of State Responses
Due to significant projected budget shortfalls for 2009 and 2010, many states are proposing short-term cuts in P-12 education spending. This ECS StateNote provides examples of potential budget cuts in five areas, including: (1) capital and building expenditures; (2) textbooks, supplies and equipment; (3) salaries and benefits; (4) staffing of non-teaching positions (at the local and state level); and (5) instructional and support programs and services. The report also indicates where funds are being added or reallocated, and where states are considering creative approaches to preserve or expand P-12 education programs and services. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, February 2009)

While no one was looking – Community-based solutions to linking early learning and the early grades: Implications for state policy - Lessons from the SPARK Initiative
SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) — a five-year initiative funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation — is one good example of what can and is being accomplished at the community level to create continuity across early childhood and K-12 education. This policy brief discusses three high-impact strategies used at SPARK sites. Additionally, the brief provides implementation examples and policy opportunities associated with each strategy. (Mimi Howard [please contact Karen Schimke], Education Commission of the States, January 2009)

Strong Leaders, Strong Achievement: Model Policy for Producing the Leaders to Drive Student Success
A good deal of research in the area of leadership has helped to generate broad agreement on what constitutes a comprehensive leadership program or policy. Positive measures such as the Educational Leadership Policy Standards (Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium, or ISLLC) have helped inform the development and improvement of many leadership programs and policies. The risk, however, is that in implementing a "comprehensive" set of standards or requirements, those elements noted by research as most critical to improving achievement can simply become another box on a check-off list. The purpose of this brief is to help reduce that risk by focusing on those factors most closely linked to student success. (Kathy Christie, Barbara Thompson and Gary Whiteley, Education Commission of the States, January 2009)

The Progress of Education Reform

The Progress of Education Reform: Service Learning and Citizenship
The term service-learning is used frequently these days, but confusion remains as to what it is and why it matters. More importantly, are there any measurable benefits? This issue of The Progress of Education Reform looks at four research studies that explore the impact of service-learning on student achievement and civic engagement. (JoAnn Henderson, [please contact Paul Baumann] December 2009)

The Progress of Education Reform: Middle Grades
The middle grades are in crisis. By state and national measures, student achievement gains realized in the elementary grades all too often diminish by grade 8. This issue of The Progress of Education Reform highlights key findings from recent research and publications on improving student success in the middle grades — and identifies actions states can take to translate these findings into sound policy. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, October 2009)

The Progress of Education Reform: Transfer and Articulation
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform looks at recent research on transfer and articulation in light of the new movement to increase degree attainment by addressing the following three questions: 1) Do articulation agreements ease the transfer process and lead to degree attainment; 2) what are the factors that facilitate or impede transfer; and 3) how can four-year, baccalaureate-degree-granting institutions ensure that transfer students succeed? (Bruce Vandal, August 2009)

The Progress of Education Reform: Summer Learning
For a long time, the issue of summer learning has waited in the wings, like a fully prepared understudy, ready to jump in and take the stage should the star need a back-up. Recently, though, summer learning has moved into the spotlight — and at the same time, the script is changing. Instead of memorizing and mimicking the star’s lines, summer learning is writing its own script. Transcending the punitive and remedial model of summer school, summer learning’s new form is an artful blend of core academic learning, hands-on activities, 21st Century skills, arts, sports and meaningful relationships. (Brenda McLaughlin and Jeffrey Smink, June 2009)

The Progress of Education Reform: International Benchmarking
If the United States wants to compete in the worldwide market again, "... it would have to adopt internationally benchmarked standards for educating its students and its workers, because only countries with highly skilled workforces could successfully compete in that market." What is more important — teaching content or teaching skills? Do they have equal value? Should 21st century skills be taught separately or in concert with content? (Barbara Thompson, ECS, April 2009)

The Progress of Education Reform: Funding Dual Credit Programs
More than 87% of America's public high schools offer their students the opportunity to gain college credit prior to graduation. Learning opportunities that allow students to gain college-level credit often are referred to as "dual credit" programs, and they are experiencing a growth in both the number of students who take advantage of them and the number of schools that offer them. (Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, January 2009)

 

2008 (click to expand/collapse)

Policy analysis and documents

High School Level Accountability
This ECS StateNote reports the measures or indicators states use for public reporting of the school's performance, the method used to provide notice to schools falling below expectations and the supports offered to assist the school in raising performance, the sanctions which a state may turn to for ensuring performance improves, and the rewards offered to schools by the state when performance heightens. (Melodye Bush [please contact Emily Workman], Education Commission of the States, December 2008)

State P-16 and P-20 Council Considerations
The divergent state-level structures that govern and fund education in the states — and the similarly diverse challenges that states face — may call for different members, agendas and supports for state-level P-16 and P-20 councils. However, ECS research suggests that some indicators associated with a council’s actors, agenda and appropriation of resources are positively associated with a council’s capacity to influence or implement meaningful education reform. This worksheet is intended to help you evaluate whether your state’s P-16 or P-20 council is aligned with some of these indicators. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, March 2009)

Strategies to Empower Low-Income and Minority Students in Gaining Admission to and Paying for College
his policy brief identifies barriers created by federal, state and local policies that pose a particular challenge for aspiring first-generation college students in the college and financial aid application process, and provides suggestions for how state-level policy might address each barrier. A final section on "other" barriers to college entry seeks to alert policymakers to emerging issues for which adequate institutional, state and federal policy responses are needed. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, November 2008)

A Growing Population: Hispanic Students in U.S. Schools and the Implications for American Education
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform looks at three recent research studies on academic success for Hispanic students and offers insights on strategies that show promise in promoting greater educational attainment for Hispanic students. (Jennifer Piscatelli [please contact Lisa Guilfoile], The Progress of Education Reform, vol. 9, no. 6, Education Commission of the States, November 2008)

Ensuring Successful Student Transitions from the Middle Grades To High School
The 9th grade year is critical to students’ success in high school. This ECS PolicyBrief looks at research on the 9th-grade transition, some expert recommendations and examples of relevant policies in place in the states. (Kathy Christie and Kyle Zinth, Education Commission of the States, November 2008)

Landmines P-16/P-20 Councils Encounter — And How They Can Be Addressed (or Avoided Altogether)
Building upon the findings of the ECS database on P-16 and P-20 councils, and experience in the states, this policy brief sets forth the numerous challenges that can foil the best-laid plans of P-16 and P-20 councils, and suggests how they can be addressed or avoided altogether. These "landmines" lie in four areas: Actors, Agenda, Appropriation of Resources and Political Climate. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, November 2008)

Improving the Skills and Knowledge of the High School Teachers We Already Have
While numerous state efforts seek to recruit, train and retain more teachers, fewer initiatives focus on developing teachers, particlarly high school teachers, once they enter the classroom. This policy brief examines seven high-leverage components to strengthen teacher professional development at the high school level and provides state policy suggestions for each. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth and Kathy Christie, Education Commission of the States, October 2008)

Improving Outcomes for Traditionally Underserved Students Through Early College High Schools
Early college high schools allow students, five years after entering high school, to complete an associate’s degree, technical certification, or earn enough college credit to enter a four-year postsecondary institution as a junior. While early colleges in many states seek waivers from state requirements to meet the specifications such programs require, a small number of states have enacted integrated state-level policies to provide programs with the specialized funding and parameters they require. This Policy Brief [do we italicize and/or capitalize this], building upon the state policy research in the ECS database on early/middle college high schools, defines early college high schools, clarifies how they differ from traditional dual enrollment programs, provides the most recent research on positive impact on academic outcomes for traditionally underserved students who participate in such programs, and sets forth the model state policy components that undergird quality programs. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, October 2008)

High School Remediation
Measured purely in monetary terms, the costs of providing remediation at the high school level can seem high, but the costs of not providing adequate and timely remediation are even higher. This ECS Policy Brief provides the elements of effective remediation policies and examples of what some states are trying to do to meet the demands of preparing students for college and careers. (Kyle Zinth and Melodye Bush [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, October 2008)

State Statutes Regarding Kindergarten: Policies Concerning District Offering of and Student Attendance in Full- and Half-Day Kindergarten Programs
This ECS StateNote includes information on each state's offering of full-day kindergarten, as well as policies for student attendance in kindergarten. (Education Commission of the States, October 2008)

Service Learning Policies and Practice: A Research-Based Advocacy Paper
This paper translates service-learning’s research-based evidence for education leaders and identifies best practices and policies. Learn more about the five critical components for effectiveness: vision and leadership, curriculum and assessment, community-school partnerships, professional development and continuous improvement. (Education Commission of the States, NCLC, September 2008)

Community College Success: Is It a Path to Opportunity?
This issue of Progress of Education Reform looks at the latest research on student success in community colleges and offers insights on the strategies that show the most promise in promoting greater educational attainment for community college students. (Bruce Vandal, The Progress of Education Reform, vol. 9, no. 5, Education Commission of the States, September 2008)

Adolescent Literacy
Traditionally reading is taught in the primary grades. However, a growing awareness of the need to address the reading skills of adolescents has resulted in states incorporating literacy instruction in their secondary-level teacher preparation and certification requirements, modifying and aligning curriculum standards, and establishing state policies to guide change. (Melodye Bush [please contact Stephanie Rose], Education Commission of the States, September 2008)

Virtual High Schools
Statewide virtual high schools are state-led programs created by state legislatures or state-level departmental agencies, and most commonly administered by a state’s education department. This ECS StateNote provides 50-state information on policies related to student curriculum and access, teaching quality and program quality/accountability. (Melodye Bush [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, August 2008)

Strengthen Parents’ Ability to Provide the Guidance and Support That Matter Most in High School
The higher the expectations of parents, the steadier their guidance and support, and the greater their sense of partnership with teachers and other staff, the better their child’s chances of academic success. This ECS Policy Brief reviews: (1) Research on the types of parental involvement that positively impact high school students; (2) State and local policies and practices that reflect and reinforce a commitment to parental involvement; and (3) The parental involvement component of No Child Left Behind. (Tim Taylor and Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, August 2008)

Beyond the GED: State Strategies To Help Former Dropouts Earn a High School Diploma
Seventy-four percent of the high school dropouts age 16-25 report that, if they could do it all over again, they would have stayed in school. This ECS Policy Brief provides information on various state policy components that can facilitate former dropouts’ ability to earn a high school diploma. The brief also addresses finance elements state policymakers must consider when developing new education options. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, August 2008)

Dispelling the Myths About the Negative Effect of Raising High School Graduation Requirements
In the last several years, a number of states have raised high school graduation requirements, particularly in mathematics and science. The negative impacts of raising high school graduation requirements are often raised by well-intentioned individuals as counterarguments to discussions in favor of raising students’ course requirements; however these counterarguments are often based on misperceptions, or "myths." This policy brief presents the potential consequences commonly raised by critics of increased high school graduation requirements. Each "myth" is followed by relevant research and/or experience, as well as guiding principles for best policy in establishing more challenging curricular expectations for all students. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, August 2008)

From Competing to Leading: AN INTERNATIONAL BENCHMARKING BLUEPRINT
International Benchmarking is the alignment of standards, instruction, professional development and assessment to those of the highest-performing countries. This Blueprint presents the rationale why states should consider benchmarking to international standards as well as describing policy recommendations for policymakers and education leaders. This is the first action guide of its kind to enable states, districts and schools to craft new policies and adjust existing policies proven to demonstrate world-class performance. [please contact Barbara Thompson]

High School Agenda: Who’s Doing What
This document provides information on the projects, initiatives and products of ECS and other national education and policy organizations on the subject of high school improvement. It is designed to direct policymakers to various groups and resources that might be useful in developing and implementing effective high school policy, and highlight important resources for anyone concerned with improving high schools. This May 2008 document reflects high school-focused reports published since spring 2005 and updates the May 2005 version of this document. (Michael Colasanti [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, May 2008)

Number of Instructional Days/Hours In the School Year
This StateNote examines the number of instructional days required in each state. While state requirements vary on the number of instructional days and hours in the year, the majority of states set the school year at 180 days (30 states). Eleven states set the minimum number of instructional days between 160 and 179 days, two states set the minimum above 180 days (Kansas and Ohio) and eight states currently do not set a minimum number of instructional days. (Zaleski and Colasanti [please contact Kathy Christie], Education Commission of the States, June 2008)

State Policies on Youth Engagement In Policymaking
This ECS StateNote examines results of a 50-state review of state policies that encourage student involvement in decisionmaking and policymaking. While many institutions of higher education, districts and schools have similar policies, this review was limited to identifying those opportunities codified at the state level in state statute and administrative code. (Judy English, Jennifer Piscatelli [please contact Lisa Guilfoile], Ann Rautio and Hillary Whitten, Education Commission of the States, June 2008)

State Funding Programs for High-Cost Special Education Students
In this country, approximately six million public school students receive special education services. Of these six million students, approximately 300,000 could be defined as "high need" or "high cost" students. This ECS StateNote presents the results of a survey of 12 states' high-cost special education policies to determine how each state defines special education students as being "high-cost" and what, if any, additional funding is provided to districts to address their funding need.(Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, May 2008)

School Uniforms and Dress Codes: State Policies
This StateNote lists state policies on school uniforms and dress codes. No states mandate the use of school uniforms. Twenty-three states give local districts the authority to require students to wear uniforms. Indiana, Iowa and New Hampshire authorize local districts to establish dress codes, but do not mention uniforms in the state statute. Massachusetts’ law prohibits dress codes. (Michael Colasanti [please contact Kathy Christie], Education Commission of the States, March 2008)

On A Razor’s Edge: The National Economy and School Budgets
Bad economic news is coming in waves these days. While news about the state of our nation’s economy can be disheartening, it is important to remember that a national economic slowdown does not usually translate into immediate budget cuts for school districts. There is a progression from a national economic slowdown to reductions in school budgets, the stages of which are identified in this new ECS Policy Alert. (Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, April 2008)

School Prayer, Moment of Silence, Other Policies Concerning Religion
This ECS StateNote provides 50-state information on state-level policies concerning religion. Topics include prayer, moments of silence, religion in the curriculum and posting the Ten Commandments in schools. (Michael Colasanti [please contact Kathy Christie], Education Commission of the States, March 2008)

State Education Governance Models
Recent years have seen a high level of education policy activity focused on issues of teacher quality. Policies have been developed at federal, state and institutional levels, and include increased institutional reporting of teacher candidates’ test scores, the mandate for Highly Qualified Teachers under NCLB, more stringent requirements for entry into and accreditation of teacher education programs and the rapid expansion of alternate pathways into teaching. To determine whether these policies were accompanied by changes in the academic quality of prospective teachers, this study focuses on Praxis candidates from the years 2002 through 2005, and compares this cohort with an earlier cohort of prospective teachers (1994 to 1997) included in an earlier ETS study. (ETS, December 2007)

Issues in Funding Early and Middle College High Schools
Early and middle colleges allow students to earn a high school diploma free of cost while gaining postsecondary credit in a small school environment. To help determine how state funding systems for early/middle colleges differ from funding programs for traditional schools, ECS reviewed the funding policies for these seven states. This review focuses on three funding issues in particular: (1) How does the state fund early/middle colleges compared to traditional high schools? (2) Does the state provide additional funding to the higher education institution where students are earning their postsecondary education credits? (3) Is a student required to pay tuition? (Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, March 2008)

Cost Per-Day for Extended School Year
Extending the school year has become a topic of interest to many state and federal policymakers. Prior to deciding to extend the school year it is important for policymakers to understand the associated costs. This ECS StateNote gives a rough estimate of the total cost and the instructional cost of school operation in each state. (Michael Griffith, Education Commission of the States, February 2008)

No Pass No Play
“No Pass No Play” refers to policies in states that define eligibility for extracurricular activities and athletics based on academic performance, attendance and student behavior. Currently, 16 states have No Pass No Play policies that affect students statewide. This ECS StateNote provides information on the specific policies of each state with No Pass No Play. (Michael Colasanti [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, February 2008)

State Collective Bargaining Policies For Teachers
This ECS StateNote provides data on collective bargaining in the states, including which states have such legislation, who is covered, the scope of coverage, impasse procedures and whether or not strikes are permitted. (Michael Colasanti [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, January 2008)

State Testing and Assessment Requirements for Initial and Continuing General Education Teachers
There are multiple requirements for teachers to become and remain certified and/or licensed to teach, including different types of tests and assessments. Passing one or more exams is a common requirement for initial teacher licensure. Assessment requirements vary across states from the type of tests administered to the required passing score(s). This ECS StateNote reports on the types of assessments each state requires for initial and continuing teacher certification and licensure only, and is not intended to advocate for the use of teacher assessments in determining teacher quality. (Angela Baber [please contact Barbara Thompson], Education Commission of the States, January 2008)

 

The Progress of Education Reform

The Progress of Education Reform: A Growing Population
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform looks at three recent research studies on academic success for Hispanic students and offers insights on strategies that show promise in promoting greater educational attainment for Hispanic students. (Jennifer Piscatelli [please contact Lisa Guilfoile], Education Commission of the States, November 2008)

The Progress of Education Reform: Community College Success
This issue of Progress of Education Reform looks at the latest research on student success in community colleges and offers insights on the strategies that show the most promise in promoting greater educational attainment for community college students. (Bruce Vandal, Education Commission of the States, September 2008)

The Progress of Education Reform — Secondary STEM Education
The next generation of Americans will likely require a solid grounding in mathematics and science for their creativity to be maximized in a world increasingly dependent on technological advances for prosperity and security. As the majority of Americans do not earn a postsecondary degree, it is essential that students be given this solid grounding during the elementary and secondary years. (Kyle Zinth [please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth], Education Commission of the States, July 2008)

The Progress of Education Reform: Counseling
This issue of Progress of Education Reform takes a closer look at research related to: 1) The variation in access of college counseling across schools and the impact of schools, districts, postsecondary institutions and states on the availability and type of college counseling; 2)The types of information traditionally underserved students need to prepare for postsecondary education; and 3) The varying types of guidance students receive based on their academic pathway or ethnic background. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, Education Commission of the States, June 2008)

The Progress of Education Reform: Developmental Education
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform will address the following three questions: 1. What are the challenges that developmental education programs face that affect their success? 2. Are developmental education programs an effective strategy for increasing college attainment rates? 3. How can state policy improve the success of developmental education programs? (Bruce Vandal, Education Commission of the States, March 2008)

The Progress of Education Reform: Early Care and Education
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform addresses the policies and practices associated with sustaining school readiness and boosting achievement for young children throughout the early elementary years. It outlines the disconnect between systems of early care and education and K-12 and offers solutions for aligning early years and early grades policies. (Mimi Howard [please contact Karen Schimke], Education Commission of the States, February 2008)

The Progress of Education Reform: Increasing Teacher Retention
This issue of The Progress of Education Reform highlights data and research on why teachers leave, how attrition affects teacher shortages across the nation and the importance of working conditions for student performance. It also includes links to additional resources on teacher attrition and teacher working conditions. (Tricia Coulter and Ashley Zaleski, Education Commission of the States, December 2007)

 
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