NASBE: Continuing to Learn during School Closures | NAEP expected to be administered in 2021 | Opinion: Overhaul E-rate to support virtual school
August 6, 2020
NASBE State Ed SmartBrief
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Top Story
Report advocates measuring "skip-year" growth
Evaluating "skip-year" growth -- determined by combining students' current scores with those from 2 years ago -- will provide a more accurate assessment of students' academic progress in 2021, according to a report from the Data Quality Campaign, the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Collaborative for Student Success. "Having growth data next year will be crucial for understanding how school closures affected student progress and what supports they will need to get back on track," said Jim Cowen, executive director of the Collaborative for Student Success.
Full Story: District Administration magazine online (8/4) 
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Atlanta school district reduces its environmental impact with propane school buses.
By adding propane buses to its fleet, Georgia school district cuts harmful emissions and greenhouse gases, which benefits both student health and the community's air quality. The district will emit 19,000 fewer pounds of NOx annually compared to the diesel buses they replaced.
Policy & Legislation
NAEP expected to be administered in 2021
(Frederick Florin/AFP via Getty Images)
The National Assessment Governing Board has ruled in a 12-10 vote that the National Assessment of Educational Progress -- known as the "nation's report card" -- should continue as planned in 2021. The decision to proceed with the math and reading assessments was made following input from state and district leaders as well as health experts, but officials say they are unsure whether a request for federal funding to help administer the exams safely will be approved.
Full Story: The 74 (8/3) 
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Opinion: Overhaul E-rate to support virtual school
Rosenworcel (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
With remote instruction likely to continue into the fall in many areas, officials should close the connectivity gap that plagued distance learning in the spring, asserts Jessica Rosenworcel, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, and John King Jr., former US education secretary and current president and CEO of The Education Trust. In this commentary, they call for adjusting the federal E-rate program to support all students during virtual learning.
Full Story: Education Week (tiered subscription model) (8/3) 
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State Board News
Utah students' eligibility for free milk and free or reduced price lunches will be determined by their household income and size, according to guidelines set forth by the state education board and Child Nutrition Programs. Certain other criteria, including acceptance into the SNAP program, also allow students access to the lunch program.
Full Story: KSTU-TV (Salt Lake City) (8/5) 
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Trends & Research
Study: Education budget cuts affect test scores
Budget cuts to education during the previous recession worsened academic outcomes for students, particularly students from lower-income households and those who are Black and Latino, according to a report published in Education Next. Data shows that for every $1,000 a school district's budget declined by, test scores in math and reading were reduced by 1.6 percentage points, with a 6 percentage-point gap between white students and their Black and Latino peers.
Full Story: Education Week (tiered subscription model) (8/4) 
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Absenteeism data could be a key indicator in determining whether remote instruction is effective and where there are gaps, according to an analysis from Phyllis Jordan, editorial director of FutureEd, and Hedy Chang, executive director of Attendance Works. In this commentary, they offer several warnings about measuring attendance during this time, urging officials not to tie funding to attendance as well as for schools not to penalize chronic absenteeism with fines and court action.
Full Story: The 74 (8/3) 
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Apply for NASBE's ECE State Network
NASBE seeks to build the capacity of two state boards of education to support a well-qualified, equitable, well-compensated early care and education workforce through effective state policymaking. The chosen state boards will join NASBE's ECE State Network and receive a $4,000 stipend to undertake its early learning policy work. During this unprecedented time, we welcome state proposals that seek to develop innovative strategies to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the ECE workforce. Learn more and apply by Aug. 28.
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Early education and remote learning
As more and more districts revise their reopening plans to 100% virtual, states must consider the unique needs of preK-3 students in designing remote learning. A recent NASBE policy update focuses on state efforts to make remote learning effective for young learners amid the pandemic. A related webinar looks at research on young children learn and interact with technology and explores effective models for early childhood remote learning.
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I am awaiting perpetually and forever a renaissance of wonder.
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