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Trends in State Financial Aid: Actions from the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Trends in State Financial Aid: Actions from the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Key takeaways from this report

  • Trends in enacted policy include changes to need- and merit-based programs, linking financial aid and workforce outcomes, and focusing aid on transfer student pathways.
  • States are playing an increasing role in loan repayment assistance or forgiveness policies, with at least four states enacting programs.
  • A growing number of states — with at least 10 joining in the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions — are using financial aid programs as a means to incentivize workforce outcomes.
  • Five states passed legislation appointing commissions to extensively research college affordability issues, with reports due through spring 2015.
  • At least 10 states created or made changes to existing need-based programs.
  • Maryland and Virginia both enacted financial aid programs geared to students transferring from two- to four-year institutions.
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States and the (not so) new standards — where are they now?

November 20, 2014 Comments off

States and the (not so) new standards — where are they now? (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

There has been a flurry of activity around the Common Core State Standards, and while it seems the landscape is changing all the time, there has been very limited change in state standards. This report captures a snapshot of where states currently stand in regard to those standards.

Open-source textbooks can help drive down the overall cost of college

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Open-source textbooks can help drive down the overall cost of college (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

There is growing national and international interest in Open Educational Resources as a way to help financially distressed states reduce costs and save students millions of dollars.

Number of instructional days/hours in the school year

November 17, 2014 Comments off

Number of instructional days/hours in the school year (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

This report lists the minimum number of instructional days/hours in a school year and the start dates prescribed by law, where specified. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia allow local districts or regions to determine when the school year begins.

Initiatives from Preschool to Third Grade: A Policymaker’s Guide

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Initiatives from Preschool to Third Grade: A Policymaker’s Guide (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

This reference guide addresses effective strategies to support children on their path to third-grade academic success and details the foundations of effective P-3 approaches. It is organized in response to the two types of questions policymakers most commonly ask ECS about P-3 approaches: What are effective strategies to support children on their path to third-grade academic success, and what are the foundations of any effective P-3 approach

State Exemplars of School Accountability “Report Cards”

August 17, 2014 Comments off

State Exemplars of School Accountability “Report Cards” (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

The profiles provided below link to exemplars of school accountability “report cards” from nine states and the District of Columbia.

  • What you will find:
    A main “report card” page with school and district
    reports
  • A sample elementary report
  • A sample high school report.

Sample elementary and sample high school names are provided — with embedded links — where possible. In those states where it is possible to generate a printable file, we have provided those links. In some states, it is necessary to look for the school by name from the main page. Be sure to click through tabs and/or categories and other areas that allow users to drill further into data.

Trends in state charter school laws: Authorizers, caps, performance-based closures and virtual schools

August 15, 2014 Comments off

Trends in state charter school laws: Authorizers, caps, performance-based closures and virtual schools (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have enacted charter school legislation. ECS analysts reviewed laws in the 50 states in creating an online database that highlights how state charter school laws vary, particularly in how states establish standards and accountability for charter school authorizers, allow for appeals, provide assistance with start-ups and fund charter schools.

Recently, attention to authorizers — the entities responsible for approving and overseeing charter schools — has increased. A growing number of states are establishing standards and reporting requirements that authorizers must adhere to.

Other rapidly evolving policy areas discussed in this brief are limits or “caps” on the number of charter schools allowed in a state, automatic performance-based closures and virtual or “cyber” charter schools.

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