February 25, 2021
NASBE State Ed SmartBrief
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Top Story
White House: Testing to go forward this year
(Str/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden's administration will require students to take standardized tests this year, but the results will be used only to gauge students' needs. Given safety concerns related to the pandemic, Ian Rosenblum, acting assistant education secretary, says closed schools should not be reopened for the purpose of testing students.
Full Story: Chalkbeat (2/22),  USA Today (2/23) 
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Policy & Legislation
As the US House of Representatives moves toward passing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package -- with $129 billion for K-12 public schools -- it has prompted officials to consider how funds in previous packages were spent. A Congressional Budget Office analysis found that the bulk of previous funds have not yet been spent.
Full Story: Education Week (2/24) 
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The Eagles Act, a bipartisan bill that would make national school violence prevention a greater focus for the US Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center, has been reintroduced in Congress after dying in the House and Senate in 2018 and 2019. Over nearly two decades, the NTAC has trained 198,000 school officials in conducting threat assessments and developing early interventions, and the bill, which was written after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, would increase that effort.
Full Story: Miami Herald (tiered subscription model) (2/24) 
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State Board News
The California state board of education voted to seek federal waivers that will allow more flexible options for standardized tests, given that almost 80% of students are still learning remotely. In the last few months, the board has voted to shorten the tests and create a remote proctoring system for the assessments, education official Rachael Maves says.
Full Story: EdSource (2/24) 
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The Maryland board of education has voted to trim the length of state assessments by two-thirds and only require them for English language arts and math. Board members say they want to ensure parity between in-person and remote testing, and state Superintendent Karen Salmon says she is optimistic about getting true markers of student progress from the abbreviated assessments.
Full Story: WBAL-TV (Baltimore) (2/23),  Maryland Matters (2/24) 
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Trends & Research
Applications for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid dropped 9.4% in February from one year ago. The applications are viewed as an indicator of future college enrollment, and data shows 39% of the class of 2021 have completed FAFSA -- about 150,000 fewer students than typically would have applied at this point.
Full Story: The Hechinger Report (2/22) 
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Redesigned, updated State Policy Database on School Health
NASBE's State Policy Database on School Health has been completely updated and redesigned -- soup to nuts! Users can now easily search, scan, navigate, and compare codified and noncodified policies on 200 school climate, health, and safety topics, all aligned to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model. Dig in here.
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Accelerating learning
Did you miss our webinar with Dr. David Steiner of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy on addressing learning loss through acceleration? Catch the on-demand recording here. An earlier webinar introduces the concept and highlights research-driven practices such as high-dosage tutoring.
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Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.
Ernest Hemingway,
writer, journalist, Nobel Prize winner
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