NASBE: Update

I'll be heading to Kansas City MO for the NASBE 2016 Annual Conference, October 19-22. The theme is, "State Leadership for Student Success". Conference sessions will explore equity for all students, early education under ESSA, student data privacy, and more.

Two featured speakers caught my attention: Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine (1957), and Manny Scott, one of the original Freedom Writers featured in Erin Gruwell's(1) published journal and subject of the 2007 film. Roberts is the scheduled keynote speaker for the Joint Pre-conference Session Lunch(2) Wednesday, while Scott formally kicks off the 2016 conference with his keynote Thursday morning. With these two speakers placed predominantly at the top of the conference, I'm struck by the fact that many of our public schools are still separate and unequal today (see HEREHERE, and HERE) and wonder just how much more improved our schools will become under the new law that rightly places much responsibility in the hands of state and local policymakers, but does little to address the issue of poverty, which is why President Johnson sought to enact the ESEA in the first place.

NASBE has partnered with Edge Research to survey state board members and staff; feedback from members will help guide direction in support of NASBE members. The survey was announced this summer and, at the time of this writing, is still open. Survey results are expected to be shared later in the year.

NASBE members received a copy of the September issue of The State Education Standard, the Journal of the National Association of State Boards of Education. This issue's theme, "The Future of Schools", includes Teacher Evaluation, Civic Education, Social Emotional Learning, Low Performing Schools, K-12 Computer Science, and more. We also received the latest Education Leaders Report which is focused on improving early education under ESSA. Both publications cover topics that are timely and relevant.

I came onto the NASBE Board in January (2016) as several grants were retiring, which resulted in some non-rehires and in a restructuring of the organization in the past year. So, it was with interest that I learned about a partnership opportunity, along with two new grants that focus on the implementation of ESSA:

  1. The Hunt Institute has partnered with the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) and NASBE to bring together state education policymakers to discuss and plan for implementation of ESSA. The meeting will convene in Chicago this November. State education committee chairs, state board chairs, state education chiefs, and governor's education advisors from a select number of states (including Massachusetts) are invited to gather with practitioners and policy experts to discuss the implications of ESSA. Since ESSA returns significant decision-making responsibility to each state, this meeting will provide an opportunity to dialogue with national experts on implementation of the new law. Among the topics to be discussed are: indicators for school accountability; assessment options, including a pilot for innovative tests; evidence-based interventions for low-performing schools; and the importance of stakeholder engagement in the development and implementation of ESSA plans. The meeting in Chicago follows the meeting held in Atlanta GA earlier this year - more about the Atlanta event may be found HERE.
  2. A competitive grant from Gates for ESSA assistance, along with a state education leadership grant from Helmsley, are signs that key national players are recognizing the critical work that state boards of ed must -- of necessity -- play in the implementation of ESSA.
Two other dates released by NASBE:

  1. The 2017 Legislative Conference will be in Washington DC, March 19-21
  2. The 2017 Annual Conference will be in Atlanta GA, October 31-November 4
I leave for Kansas City MO early Wednesday, October 19. All things being equal, I plan to live blog and tweet from conference sessions as I have in the past. Follow my social channels for updates (below and on the right-hand side of this blog):
(1) A trivial fun fact: I heard Erin Gruwell keynote a few years ago, when she inspired thousands of attendees at the National PTA 2013 Annual Conference in Cincinnati OH.

(2) NASBE joint members are the National Council of State Boards of Education Executives, or NCSBEE (pronounced, "nicks-bee"), and the National Council Of State Education Attorneys, or NCOSEA (pronounced either "nn-coSEEuh" or "nicoSEEa"). Both organizations are NASBE affiliates, national organizations serving individuals who provide administrative and other support to state boards of education or of attorneys who represent and advise state boards of ed.