The NCSL Blog


By Kevin Frazzini

Call it a study-abroad program.

It’s no secret that students in certain other countries are outperforming American kids in math, science and reading.

So NCSL’s Study Group on International Education got out in the field to learn from the best, spending 18 months researching the world’s top school systems to see what lessons could be applied here at home.

How exactly, for example, does Australia provide high-quality instruction to students in its remotest schools? How have England and Canada built in the flexibility to let district officials lead change and make decisions? And what makes Switzerland’s vocational education programs so effective?

Julie Davis Bell, director of NCSL’s Education Program, discusses these and other questions raised by the study group in “A World Apart,” the cover story of this month’s State Legislatures magazine. (The group’s full report, “No Time to Lose,” is also available online.)

The world’s most successful school systems focus on teachers and teaching, high standards with limiting testing, good career and college options, and support during students’ early years, Bell writes.

Beyond education, the September issue brings you a review of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings; the story of how Congress passed a GMO-labeling bill modeled on—and pre-empting—legislation developed in Vermont; a look at where current voting law stands; and the latest on state lawmakers’ attempts to fight child sex trafficking, a problem that experts say is hiding in plain sight.

There’s plenty more, so pick up a copy or read it online now.

Kevin Frazzini is the assistant editor of State Legislatures magazine.

Email Kevin

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.