Update to BESE on NASBE Legislative Conference

My comments to BESE at yesterday's meeting.

This marked the third NASBE Conference I've attended since last July. Each has been of high quality, with respect to both relevant content and presenters. I hope some others from BESE will consider attending the Annual Conference in Kansas City KS, October 19-22.

In the week before the conference,
Education Week ran a cover story about the urgency of the work of State Boards of Education (SBEs) under new ESEA reauthorization - ESSA.

LegCon was focused on the reauthorization, looking at four key areas: assessments, accountability, effective teachers, and high school turnarounds.

At the Board Meeting Sunday afternoon Indiana SBE member Gordon Hendry shared information about their new law to fund a teacher scholarship program to lead top students into teaching in an effort "to curb persistent teacher shortages".

NASBE Board members and staff joined "the chiefs" at dinner Sunday night, where I met up briefly with the Commissioner, Jessica Leitz (Director of DESE's External Partnerships), and Lauren Green (Assistant Chief of Staff).

During LegCon, NASBE released a new report, Policymaking on Education Data Privacy: Lessons Learned, paired with another report from the Future of Privacy Forum on how data analysis empowers students and schools.

LegCon had 30+ states and territories represented.


  • Executive Director, Kris Amundson addressed attendees about State Board Leadership for all students.
  • Stephan Turnipseed from Destination Imagination, formerly with LEGO Education, gave a keynote on establishing collge and careet expectations (he believes critical thinking is best in hands on, project-based learning programming).
  • Charlotte Danielson talked with us about using your state teacher evaluation system to promote effective teacher practice.
 Panels addressed a range of issues:
  • effective communication with families
  • the federal policy landscape
  • early learning and accountability requirements of ESSA
  • student data privacy (lessons learned and federal implications of it
  • designing your own accountability system and
  • questions SBEs should ask about state assessment systems
There was an enlightening and thought-provoking keynote from Michael Leachman on criminal justice reform and its implications for schools.

The morning of our last day, US Secretary of Education John King spent the better part of 90 minutes talking with us about supporting state leadership to promote educational equity and excellence. 

As I had participated in NASBE's New Member Institute last July I was invited to participate in a "new member focus group" while in DC. The purpose was to facilitate a discussion over the ways in which NASBE could have better-informed new members, whether they attend the Institute or not. NASBE is in the process of revamping materials and access.

NASBE exists to serve and strengthen SBEs in their pursuit of high levels of academic achievement for all students. I'm glad Massachusetts is a member and I am grateful to have attended this conference.