Day One at the 2016 National Forum on Education Policy


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The first day of Education Commission of the States’ National Forum was a tremendous success!  More than 580 education policy leaders including governors, legislators, chief state school officers and teachers came together to discuss issues ranging from dual enrollment to the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Here’s a re-cap of day one!

  • Jeremy Anderson, President of Education Commission of the States, kicked off the day with an overview of some of the big issues being covered this year: ESSA, college affordability and the teacher pipeline.
  • Gov. Steve Bullock, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Rebecca Watts discussed dual enrollment. Bullock talked about efforts in Montana including awarding students who earn college credit in high school a “coupon” for an in-state tuition discount. Reynolds talked about how Iowa funds free dual enrollment credits for high school students. Watts discussed the Ohio College Credit Plus program.
  • David Adkins, CEO of the Council of State Governments, gave an oftentimes comical Ed Talk on the federal government’s role in empowering students to take full advantage of their potential. He believes student-centered, teacher-led schools have the greatest chances of success.
  • The 2016 Frank Newman Award for State Innovation was awarded to Mississippi for prioritizing early learning reading skills and the Corporate Award was awarded to Newseum.
  • The 2016 Teachers of the Year met to hear from Commissioner Vandeven (MO) and Rep. Roch (NM) and to brainstorm with Education Commission of the States staff about how to improve teacher recruitment and retention. During a working lunch, teachers shared their ideas for addressing teacher shortages: improving teacher pay, authentic professional development that coincides with career ladders and opportunities for leadership, and the importance of a respected and knowledgeable administrator.
  • A robust round of concurrent sessions included discussions on:
    • Connecting the Education Data Continuum: A main takeaway was that data is more powerful when it can be linked. The speakers reinforced the need for multiple agencies in the state to work together to link data and create easily digestible avenues to present student data to the public. Illinois State Superintendent Tony Smith summed up the way to start the data continuum conversation with “start with service and then move to security.”
    • Dual Enrollment: Strategies that work – and lessons learned: A number of states, including Montana, Iowa and Ohio, are using dual enrollment policies to help students successfully transition into postsecondary education. Montana’s Credit for Credit Coupon program has helped make college more affordable and has ensured students are immediately career ready. Iowa, who is leading the nation in the number of students participating in concurrent enrollment, has more than 44,000 high school students enrolled in community college courses. Ohio’s College Credit Plus program was created in 2015 to help Ohio students obtain college credit while in high school.
    • School Finance 101: Diving into the lessons of education funding: Coming off the recession, most states are seeing increase funds going into k-12 education. The states that are seeing a drop are states who rely on natural resources and oil to fund schools, like Alabama, North Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma. The session concluded with a discussion of local property taxes. On average, local sources fund 44.3 percent of school budgets. But, we are changing the way that we educate kids through charter schools, online, open enrollment and vouchers. There is a debate around who should pay for the education of students in the emerging education methods.
    • Tools to Prompt Policy Progress:  Strategies for success: introduced two tools for policy progress:  State Education Policy Checklist and Civic Education Gap Analysis Tool. Presenters explained these tools and how they can successfully impact policy and connect policy and practice.  The tools help raise questions that lead to productive conversations that develop effective policies.  Presenter, Barbara Cegavske, Secretary of State of Nevada, shared her experience in using the Civic Education Gap Analysis Tool in Clark County, Nev., and how the tool helped discover how civics education is incorporated into that county.

Make sure to follow the conversation online by following #ECSNF16 on Twitter and visit our blog tomorrow for an update on day two.

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