LESN ListServ Archived Postings

LESN Listserv: Archived Postings By Topic & Date

Picture of Kansas Capital DomeThe Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN) listserv is a vehicle for legislative education staff nationwide to discuss current education issues and for NCSL and ECS to disseminate relevant information regarding timely and important topics in education. In addition, it serves as a tool to inform network members about upcoming events and meetings. The list is a free and private listserv to be used only by legislative education staff, NCSL and ECS. To sign up for the listserv, contact Suzanne Hultin.  

Listserv Address:

LESN Listserv Guidelines

Included below is an archived list of LESN listserv postings and compiled responses by topic and date. If you would like to post a complied list of responses or add/update information, please contact Sara Shelton.


School Playground Liabilitiy (January 2014) 

Does your state have any laws related to limited liability for school districts that leave their playgrounds unlocked? Or, does your state have any laws related to leaving playgrounds locked or unlocked after school hours?

Salaries of Recent College Graduates (May 2013)

Has your state enacted a law or rule requiring reporting and publication of salaries of recent college graduates?


Superintendent Evaluations (February 2013)

What states have implemented policies regarding Superintendent Evaluations or Reviews during the course of the school year? 

Commissioner Authority to Withold Funding (February 2013)

What states allow the State Education Commissioners (or other equivalent education authority) to withhold funding to local school districts for noncompliance with state law, regulation, or edict.  Can the Commissioner act unilaterally, or must they get the approval of the Board of Education before doing so?

State School Accountability/Grading Systems (January 2013)

What grading or accountability systems for schools are in place in your state?

Visually and Hearing Impaired Schools (December 2012)

What is the funding and governance structure of schools for visually and hearing impaired children in your state?

School Resource Officers (December 2012)

What states have or have recently considered the establishment of a voluntary program that would allow teachers who so desire to do so to be trained as School Resource Officers (SROs)?  If so, what issues have arisen regarding the establishment and operation of such a program?

Zero Tolerance Policies (December 2012)

What states are reconsidering their zero tolerance policies sin schools for weapons and/or drugs?

Athletic Travel (November 2012)

What  states have implemented policies regarding ‘Athletic Travel’ during the course of the school week, specifically statutory language, legislation or rules in place that limit the travel (by either time or distance) during the school week that a student would be allowed to travel to participate in any athletic program?

Grading Policies (November2012)

Have any states have passed laws or have had bills introduced regarding school grading policies?  Specifically, any laws that required grades to be based, at least in part, on things like turning in work, being timely, demonstrating responsibility, etc.

Special Education Certification (September 2012)

What are the certification requirements for special education teachers in your state?  Do teachers have to have an education degree?  Can a teacher without an education degree go through an alternative certification program and become certified in special education?  Also have any states looked at or implemented any program or tried different methods for recruiting and retaining special education teachers?

US History/Government Requirements (August 2012)

Does your state have in statute a requirement for US History/Government course to graduate from college?  Or a resolution encouraging institutions to require a US History/Government course to graduate?

Teacher Pensions (March 2012)

NCSL 50-state chart highlighting state governments that make the entire or nearly the entire employer contribution for teacehers' retirement plans.

Suspension of Felony Teacher Pay (March 2012)

Which states allow for the suspension of a teacher’s salary if the teacher has been charged, but not yet convicted or cleared, with a felony charge.

Health Education Standards (March 2012)

Does your state have academic standards for health education in grades K-12? And, if so, are schools required to use them? These could be state-developed standards or national standards. I am interested in standards for instruction, not nutritional standards for food and beverages in schools.

Reporting of School Counselor Data (March 2012)

Does your state require reporting to boards of education the number of school counselors in each school?

Medical Loan Forgiveness Programs (March 2012)

Does your state have any incentive programs or to reduce/absolve student loans that require medical students to remain in-state following completion of medical school?

Educator Compliant Records (February 2012)

Does your state have any procedure or mechanism in place for notifying the public when a complaint of inappropriate conduct or conduct unbecoming of a teacher is alleged at a teacher and the state department of education is investigating, but no decision has been reached on the matter?

Broadband Inquiry (February 2012)

1) What initiatives are underway in states for K-12 broadband accessibility and increased bandwidth where limited broadband is available?
2) How are efforts to provide and expand bandwidth in schools being financed? Any legislation recently passed or under consideration?
3) Is K-12 access through the same system as access for the institutions of higher education? The same fiber as higher ed with extensions to K-12 schools? The same funding source?
4) For each state, to what degree do schools have adequate bandwidth for common core implementation, distance learning, interactive learning projects, and student access to electronic textbooks, reference material, individualized learning application. These needs are in addition to administrative applications. 

Kansas Performance Audit Report: Evaluating the Effects of Eliminating the Kan-ed Program

Chief State School Officer Qualifications (January 2012)

What are the qualifications for the Chief State School Officer in your state?

Third Grade Reading Retention (October 2011)

Does your state require the retention of 3rd grades based on reading proficiency?

Textbook and Technology Funding (October 2011)

Privatization of Teaching (September 2011)

Does your state allow or require traditional public school districts to contract out for teacher services?

65% Rule (August 2011)

During its 2006 session, the Georgia State Legislature enacted the “Classrooms First for Georgia Act.” Beginning with fiscal year 2008 (FY 2008), and for every year thereafter, local school systems (systems) are required to either spend a minimum of 65 percent of their total operating expenditures on direct classroom expenditures, or increase their direct classroom expenditures as a percent of total operating expenditures by two or more percentage points over the previous fiscal year. Does your state do something similar? If not, what is your alternative?

Non-graded Primary Education (March 2011)

How many states have considered non-graded primary education?. Has your stateconsidered not using course grades in elementary education (or has implemented such a program)?

Grade Inflation (March 2011)

Seeking information about how states have dealt with or are thinking about dealing with high school grade inflation.

  • Has your state has dealt with grade inflation either by law or regulation? If so, would you please send me a link to the regulation or law? Any information you can provide about how that law or regulation has worked out would also be appreciated.
  • Has your state has conducted a study (or if you know of a study) that has resulted in policy suggestions? I have seen the research that declares grade inflation a problem, but most go on to say that further research is needed and provide no policy suggestions.
  • If you have any other information on this topic, please let me know.

Free Lunch Proxy (March 2011)

Free Lunch Proxy Chart, Kansas Legislative Audit Division (2006)

In Kansas we use the students who are eligible for free lunch as a proxy to determine the funding for at-risk services – as opposed to actually using the number of students non-proficient on state assessments.

Has any state changed from free lunch as a proxy to using the actual non-proficient students count, and if so, what are the pros and cons of that.

Kindergarten (February 2010)

Does your state require/offer half or full-day kindergarten?

Length of School Day (February 2010)

Does your state have a minimum school day? If so, how long is it?

ECS StateNote - What Cannot Count Towards Official Instruction Time? (October 2007)

ECS StateNote - Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes/Hours in a High School Day (October 2007)

Dropouts (March 2011)

For those of you in states with a compulsory attendance age of 18, do you have any data on the dropout event rate by age (or grade) of students?

NCSL Report A Path to Graduation (January 2010). Please take a look at p. 24 – “Conduct policy audits, eliminate counterproductive policies and provide incentives for collaboration.” The fourth paragraph discusses compulsory school age.

ECS StateNote Compulsory School Age Requirements (June 2010)

Building A Grad Nation,  Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center. Page 46 reports that, of the 6 states that increased the compulsory school age between 2002 and 2008, two states (Illinois and South Dakota) experienced increases in their graduation rates. Only Nevada experienced a decline.
6 states: Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Dakota
(Michigan increased in 2009 - not included here)

Raising the Compulsory Attendance Age: The Case for Reform, Civic Enterprises

The Rennie Center’s Spring 2009 publication analyzes state data on grad rates /dropout rates for states that have set the compulsory school age to 18. It’s a really useful overview of the issue – but it concludes that there’s not enough evidence to focus on age 18 as a policy over other dropout prevention efforts. However, it does not compare grad rates from when the policy took effect through now. Also, the data they refer to is 2004-05 NCES data.

Maryland Dropout Task Force. Maryland task on compulsory school age of 18. It recommends raising the age and has lots of useful arguments and data.

Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy (Kentucky) ran some numbers here, attempting to look at state grad rates where they’ve raised the age to 17 or 18.

Additional Research:

Li, M. (2007). Bayesian proportional hazard analysis of the timing of high school dropout decisions. Econometric Reviews, 26, 529-556.
Lillard, D.R. & DeCicca, P.P. (2001). Higher standards, more dropouts? Evidence within and across time. Economics of Education Review, 20, 459-473. 

Warren, J.R., Jenkins, K.N., & Kulick, R.B. (2006). High school exit examinations and state-level completion and GED rates, 1975-2002. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28, 131-152. 

School Bullying Resources

LESN/LHSN Webinar on School Bullying (December 2010)

State Cyberbullying Laws, Cyberbullying Research Center (updated February 2011)

NCSL Bullying Legislation 2008-present (updated January 2013)

NCSL Cyberbullying Enacted Legislation 2006-2010

NCSL Cyberstalking, Cyberharassment and Cyberbullying Laws 

NCSL Cyberbullying in the States Statutes (updated July 2010)

Stop Bullying Now! Webpage

Teacher Furloughs (February 9, 2011)

Which states are considering statewide teacher furloughs, and which states have districts furloughing teachers?

State Board of Education Appointments (February 3, 2011)

 In states where the governor appoints members of the state board of education, is there language in statute/rules/regulations that lays out guidelines for which the governor must follow, such as appointees should represent certain constituencies - business, labor, students, educators, parents, etc. - or other proscriptive language? Or, does the governor have autonomy over the process?

State Education Standards (January 26, 2011)

What entity in your state is responsible for formulating and approving your state education standards? (In many states, it’s the state board of education and in some states, it’s the legislature)
Does your state require legislative action before state standards can be fully adopted?
Does your legislature have oversight and/or veto power over rules/regulations adopted by your state board of education or other standards-authorizing entity?




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