Policy Matters

Policy Matters interviews explore the thoughts behind actions that various state and district leaders have taken to improve aspects of the educational system and the role that research plays in decision making.

California became one of the final states in the nation to receive approval for its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan in July, ending a round of negotiations with the U.S. Department of Education over topics like accountability and the tracking of underperforming schools. In this edition of Policy Matters, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson joins Chief Deputy Superintendent Glen Price and Federal Policy Liaison Marguerite Ries to discuss the state’s plan and how it will be implemented in the “California way,” buoying ongoing efforts to support low-income students, English language learners, foster children, and more. 


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Following the July 2018 passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which provides states with new freedoms in the design and delivery of career training programs, state education officials are working alongside members of their business communities to offer training that meets the demands of an ever-changing workforce. In this edition of Policy Matters, Wyoming Department of Education Chief of Staff Dicky Shanor discusses his department’s efforts to strengthen partnerships with Wyoming employers and prepare state residents for high-paying, locally available jobs. 


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From race to economics to geographic location, from kindergarten through college, many students face a steeper-than-average climb in their pursuit of a quality education. In this edition of Policy Matters, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers and Executive Director of the Idaho STEM Action Center Angela Hemingway speak with researcher Megan Hopkins (University of California, San Diego) about their unique struggles – and advances – in building educational equity.


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As states begin implementing comprehensive education plans as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), policymakers and education officials are working to address the unique opportunities – and unique challenges – presented by the landmark bill. In this edition of Policy Matters, Group Director for the National Conference of State Legislatures Michelle Exstrom speaks with CPRE Co-director Jonathan Supovitz about states’ varying approaches to ESSA and the act’s potential impacts on testing and performance-based assessment. 


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Georgia’s first ever Chief Turnaround Officer, Eric Thomas, speaks with CPRE Research Co-director Jonathan Supovitz (University of Pennsylvania) about the state's efforts to rally stakeholder engagement, improve struggling schools, and address the “non-academic" challenges of Georgia students. From the 2018 National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Legislative Conference in Washington D.C.


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As U.S. school districts begin implementing new approaches and policies under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are capitalizing on opportunities to build alignment between state-level education policy and classroom practice. In this edition of Policy Matters, Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow speaks with CPRE Research Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz about her state’s efforts to drive accountability, career readiness, and student achievement. 


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North Dakota State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler speaks with CPRE Knowledge Hub Director Bobbi Newman about a unique, multi-million dollar grant program designed to fund early childhood education programming in the state, where rural residents struggle with access to quality pre-K classes. From the 2017 Education Commission of the States (ECS) National Forum on Education Policy.



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Oklahoma teachers have reason to celebrate, after winning raises and additional funding following a highly publicized walkout in April. But the state’s schools continue to face long-term challenges, including an ongoing teacher shortage that has forced districts to issue nearly 2,000 emergency teacher certifications in recent years. In this edition of Policy Matters, Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister speaks about the teacher shortage and its impacts on district staffing, training, and student learning. From the 2017 Education Commission of the States (ECS) National Forum on Education Policy.


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For the past five decades, Michael Kirst has served as one of the most recognizable and influential names in state and federal education policy. Working in tandem with Gov. Jerry Brown, who first appointed Kirst as president of the California State Board of Education in 1977 and again in 2011, Kirst has helped reshape the K-12 landscape in the Golden State by designing and employing a new, cohesive framework for all aspects of the educational system. In this talk with long-time colleague and CPRE co-director Jonathan Supovitz, Kirst details the origins, implementation, and results of his educational vision as he approaches retirement.


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Years after the “Opt-Out” movement first swept across the United States, high rates of testing opt-outs in Utah continue to challenge state board members and may threaten millions of dollars in federal funding awarded as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In an interview with CPRE co-director Jonathan Supovitz, Utah State Board of Education members Alisa Ellis and Kathleen Riebe discuss the state’s opt-out policies, trends, and their potential impacts on federal funding, turnaround, and student evaluation.


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Arthur Nevins is the Policy Advisor for Governor Raimondo in the state of Rhode Island. In his conversation with Sharon Wolf, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, he discusses Governor Raimondo’s education policy agenda and her focus on early childhood education. Nevins also elaborates on a grant from the National Governors Association to support Rhode Island’s early care and education priorities.


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Lauren Burdette is the former Managing Director of Education Policy for Governor Rauner’s administration in the state of Illinois. In her conversation with Sharon Wolf, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, she describes her day-to-day responsibilities within the governor’s offices. She also offers advice to both policymakers and researchers in how to influence education policy.


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Dietra Trent is the former Secretary of Education for the state of Virginia. She sits down with Sharon Wolf, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, to discuss the comprehensive policy agenda for education in Virginia. She also shares how Virginia was one of the first states to include computer science in their standards and other accomplishments the state has had in education.


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In 2018, there will be over 35 gubernatorial elections across the United States. Aaliyah Samuel, director of the Education Division of the National Governors Association, sits down with Sharon Wolf, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education about the impact these elections will have on early childhood education. Samuel discusses the rationale behind the insurgence of policy efforts dedicated to early childhood education and how the National Governors Associations assists policy advisors and governors.

 


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Wayne Lewis is the Executive Director of Educational Programs for the state of Kentucky. In his conversation with Sharon Wolf, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, he discusses Kentucky’s efforts to improve early childhood education. Lewis also serves as an associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Education. He offers advice to researchers on how to build key relationships with policymakers to make impactful change.

 


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Christine Antorini, a member of the Danish parliament who served as Minister of Education from 2011-2015 talks with Jonathan Supovitz to discuss how the Danish government was able to get support from groups across Denmark and the impact that had on comprehensive reforms.  Antorini and other Danish leaders identified that school system needed reforms in several areas: reading and math skills, addressing the needs of children of immigrants, gifted and talented education, and achievement rates for boys were decreasing.  After gathering input from the local level and other stakeholder groups across Denmark, the government implemented their “new-Nordic” reforms. The school week was lengthened to 35 hours a week, but schools and teachers were given more freedom to structure days and weeks differently. Educators were encouraged to emphasize more “learning-by-doing” model, offer more active learning, and develop partnerships with local organizations and businesses.  However, there was push back from the local school communities.  Listen to how the Antorini and other Danish leaders worked with the local school communities to resolve the issues.


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Siri Smillie serves as the education policy advisor to Steve Bullock, the Governor of Montana. She sits down with Sharon Wolf, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, to discuss Montana’s policy agenda to improve access and quality for early education. Smillie elaborates on the importance of the governor’s office in this work and how the NGA’s early childhood grant assisted in the success of their agenda.

 


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CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz interviews Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant about Mississippi’s focus on improving education for Mississippi students from PK through college and career.  Governor Bryant describes in detail the progress the state has made providing access to quality early childhood education and improving reading proficiency for student before third grade.  Recent policy efforts have been successful as a result of collaborations with agencies and businesses throughout the state and developing longitudinal data systems to inform policymaking.  

Governor Phil Bryant is currently serving the second year of his second term as Mississippi’s governor. In this role, Bryant has led the way to new public education reforms, increased economic development, and a resurgent business environment across the state. Before beginning in his role as governor, Bryant worked as the lieutenant governor from 2008 to 2011.  

Have thoughts on this video? Head to KH Conversations, our discussion forum, and join the conversation, or use our collective note-taking feature to keep track of your thoughts and see what others were thinking of as they watched the video.


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Kelly Pollitt is the former Chief Strategist for Policy and Alliances at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). She led all efforts related to policy, advocacy, and project-based efforts designed to build the capacity of principals as the catalyst for school improvement. Currently Kelly serves as the Chief Advocacy Officer (CAO) for the National School Boards Association. She sits down CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz to discuss efforts to create opportunities to improve school leader professional development through funding streams outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act. 

 

Have thoughts on this video? Head to KH Conversations, our discussion forum, and join the conversation, or use our collective note-taking feature to keep track of your thoughts and see what others were thinking of as they watched the video.


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Director of Advocacy, Amanda Karhuse at the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) shares how some ESSA state plans have sought to include up to 3% of Title II funds for professional learning for school principals.  NASSP is working with states and districts to track and analyze which programs and activities are being funded.

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Iowa State Board Member Brooke Axiotis spoke with CPRE Knowledge Hub Director Bobbi Newman about the instillation of Iowa's Early Warning System in Reading to help facilitate student growth in reading at a young age. 

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Former Senior Vice President of the National Charter Schools Alliance Todd Ziebarth joins CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz for a conversation around the future of charter schools in the United States, the benefits and challenges that come with charter schools, and his work at the National Charter Schools Alliance.

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Nathaniel Provencio, Washington Post’s 2017 Principal of the Year, currently has the highest rate of gifted student identification of any Prince William County Title I school. He served as assistant principal at McAuliffe and Bel Air Elementary Schools before being named principal at Minnieville Elementary in 2010. He sits down to discuss how his school overcame adversity to foster student success.

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President of the Education Commission of the States Jeremy Anderson discusses changes in elected education officials across the states in the 2016 election and how these changes may affect education policies. He also talks about Education Commission of the States newly released report K-3 Policymakers' Guide to Action: Making the early years count and the efforts to be made by the Education Commission of the States to assist states in implementing suggested policies.

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Elizabeth Lodal, a Virginia State Board of Education member, joins CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz to converse around how Virginia's policymakers are working to determine what types of traits and skills students who are going through their educational system should acquire by the time they graduate. 

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Kristen Amundson, President and CEO of the National Association for State Boards of Education, joins CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz for a conversation about the current education policy landscape and the increasing power and authority that State Boards of Education hold across the country.

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Executive Director of the Delaware State Board of Education Donna Johnson joins CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz for a Policy Matters interview in which she talks about Delaware's specific goals for improving equity in the state, and the district report card system that received applause from the White House.

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Reg Leichty joins Policy Matters to talk through Title 1 requirements and a potential fifth indicator in ESSA, as well as the status of the Strengthening Education through Research Act. 

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Martha Harris, Chair of the Maine State Board of Education, joins CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz for a Policy Matters interview, delving into the state's plans to continue building out their career and technical education offerings as well as the need for regulation in the state's charter schools.

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Massachusetts’ Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester discusses his state's comprehensive assessment system which combines the MCAS and PARCC exam. Commissioner Chester also puts  the 2015 Massachusetts PISA scores into perspective and discusses the transition process of standards in Massachusetts.  

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Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera goes into the details of the state's plans to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Secretary Rivera explains the state's main goal: creating conditions that allow students to succeed as learners. 

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Arkansas State Board Executive Committee Chair Jay Barth joins CPRE Knowledge Hub Director Bobbi Newman for a conversation about science standards in Arkansas.

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James Applegate, formerly the Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, joins Policy Matters to considers the biggest questions that Illinois is currently grappling with in higher education policy, including closing the achievement gap, making college more affordable, and increasing adult participation and completion in the state's higher education system.

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Michigan Department of Education State Board Member Eileen Weiser speaks to the unique challenges facing Michigan's education system, the tie between student growth and community development, and the top ten things that districts can do to work towards their goals.

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CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz interviews Alabama State Senator Joyce Elliot, National Council for State Legislatures' Michelle Exstrom, and Wisconsin State Senator Luther Olsen about NCSL's "No Time to Lose" report, in which education in other nations is considered and implications for the American education system are acknowledged. The report can be read here: http://www.ncsl.org/documents/educ/Edu_International_FinaI_V2.pdf

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This latest Policy Matters video features former Kentucky State Superintendent Terry Holliday reflecting on the Kentucky Plan and its five specific goals he instilled at the state level, how ESSA is impacting educator evaluations, and the creative ways he made research a part of policy.

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Kansas State Board of Education Member Sally Cauble talks about the benefits and challenges that comes with increased autonomy at the state level, as well her her work in creating a groundswell of community engagement in Kansas.

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CEO of the Education Trust Kati Haycock discusses education equity in terms of data, suggested policies for states, and focus areas for states with the enactment of ESSA.

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CPRE Co-Director Jonathan Supovitz sits down with the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's Parent Representative, Mary Ann Stewart about the ins and outs of serving as the bridge between constituents in the state and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the process of choosing the state standardized tests that are distributed to students, and more.

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