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April 15, 2015

New from ECS

Workforce development policies
States are introducing and enacting an increasing number of bills targeted toward workforce development and career and technical education. A new ECS Education Policy Analysis offers a review of enacted legislation from 2012-14 across the country and provides several state examples.

What States Are Doing

Alternatives to state tests
Fifteen Ohio districts and schools were chosen to develop alternatives to state standardized tests. The pilot will allow these schools to use locally selected or developed assessments to match their specific educational programs. Results could change testing policies statewide. The Ohio Department of Education will seek a waiver for the alternative tests from the U.S. Department of Education.

Year-long teacher apprenticeships
The Louisiana Department of Education announced 26 district-recipients for the second cohort of Believe and Prepare Educator Preparation grants, adding to seven recipients already implementing innovative models for teacher training. This second cohort of grant recipients will operate April 2015 through June 2016. Cohort 2 pilots will build on Cohort 1’s most promising practices.

Development grants for career education
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the first career education grants awarded this year to eight schools and districts stretching from Tehama County to San Diego County. Funding the planning process needed to implement career programs the following year, the grants are especially helpful to rural areas where there are fewer career education programs.

Schools to get fitness centers
Three Arkansas schools will get $100,000 fitness centers. After a nomination process in which applicants are judged by innovative ideas to implement student health and fitness, the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils will nominate the winners. The announcement was made by Foundation chair Jake Steinfeld, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education.

Good Reads

Rural teacher supply and demand
Adding to the rural education knowledge base, this report finds rural schools were not more likely to report teacher vacancies, except when it came to English language learner positions; vacancies and turnover weren't as big a concern as who is hired to fill those vacancies. Rural teachers were more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, except for salaries, which can be low in rural areas. The report sees hope in grow-your-own strategies and increasing use of technology. (Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho)

AmeriCorps preps preschoolers
AmeriCorps members within the Minnesota Reading Corps PreK program significantly boosted emergent literacy skills of PreK students aged 3, 4 and 5. In this evaluation, they helped 4- and 5-year-olds meet or exceed spring targets for kindergarten readiness in all five assessed areas. By the end of the school year, 3-year-olds significantly outperformed students in comparison classrooms in rhyming words and picture names. ( Corporation for National & Community Service)

Educator evaluation evolves in Tennessee
In its third year, Tennessee's educator evaluation system continues to evolve, using a variety of metrics. The rigor of evaluator certification was increased and there was continued expansion for non-tested grades and subjects. In the 2014 legislative session it was decided the person being evaluated could select the 15 percent achievement measure to use in the evaluation and additional evaluation coaches were added. (Tennessee Department of Education)

Events and Webinars

NASH and SHEEO present: Advancing Educator Preparation
NASH and SHEEO are pleased to invite you to the third installment of their co-hosted webinar series, "Advancing Educator Preparation." The upcoming webinar, Linking Research and Practice Across the UNC System: Using Data to Assess and Improve the Effectiveness of Educator Preparation, featuring Tom Ross, president, and Alisa Chapman, vice president for Academic and University Programs, of the University of North Carolina System, will be held on Wednesday, April 22, between 2-4 p.m. (ET). To RSVP, please send your name, title, organization, and email address to If you have any questions, contact Sharmila Mann at

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