Cover of Education Seminar brochure2010 National Education Seminar

What Works to Improve Education:  Lessons From Research, Policy and Practice

Teachers College, Columbia University
New York City, New York

March 12-14, 2010

Meeting Summary

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Friday, March 12th

 7:30 am - 5:00 pm

Preparing Effective School Leaders - Site Visit March 12, 2010 in New York City

Principals, second only to teachers, are essential to turning around struggling schools and improving student achievement, particularly in low-performing schools. Research also suggests that there are virtually no documented instances of troubled schools being turned around without a talented principal.

Click here to view the landing page to the Preparing Effective School Leaders site visit.

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Improving Student Achievement and School Performance Through "Response to Intervention"

Response to Intervention is a research-based approach to school reform that uses data to make instructional changes quickly to improve learning.  Particpants will visit the Maria Teresa Mirabal School in New York City to learn how teachers and school administrators have used this approach to respond to student needs and improve overall school success.  Participants will analyze reports alongside school staff, learn from national experts, and hear about recent state legislation and implementation stories from states that have used this method.  This site visit is made possible with generous support from Renaissance Learning, Inc.  NCSL Contact:  Michelle Exstrom

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Increasing Success for Low-Income Community College Students

Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn was founded in 1963 and serves approximately 30,000 students a year, offering a wide range of credit and non-credit courses in the liberal arts, career education and specialized programs. Kingsborough serves a diverse student population and ranks among the top community colleges in the country in associate degrees awarded to minority students. It has been the site of several important research studies to learn what helps community college students. It is currently participating in a rigorous study funded by the Institute of Education Sciences through the National Center for Postsecondary Education. Discuss the policy implications of research findings on financial aid, remediation and learning communities. Hear about effective practices used throughout the CUNY system that are improving students' success. This visit is co-sponsored by MDRC, CUNY, and the National Center for Postsecondary Research at Teachers College, with support from the Institute of Education Sciences. NCSL Contact: Brenda Bautsch 

Saturday, March 13th

 9:00 am - 10:15 am

Concurrent Sessions

Sorting Out the School Choice Research

Amy Stuart Wells has built her academic research career studying school choice, charter schools, public school desegregation, and student achievement gaps. Hear what her research has found and how these findings affect state policy.


  • Representative Scott Hochberg, Texas


The Changing Role of Community Colleges

With significant budget cuts to higher education, community colleges are taking on new and important roles in the state higher education systems. Learn how states are incorporating community colleges into postsecondary reform strategies.


  • Tom Bailey, Director, National Center for Postsecondary Research and the Community College Research Center, New York
  • James Jacobs, President, Macomb Community College, Michigan

10:30 am - 11:45 am

Concurrent Sessions

Educator Effectiveness

Research confirms that teachers and principals are the two most important factors in student achievement, particularly in high-needs schools.  Learn about the latest research on  educator effectiveness (what is it and how do you measure it) and discuss what state policymakers can do to recruit, train and support effective educators.


  • Michelle Exstrom, Senior Policy Speciailist, NCSL, Colorado


  • Barnett Berry, President and CEO, Center for Teaching Quality Inc., North Carolina

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 View Barnett Berry's Power Point Presentation


View Meeting Handout: Teacher Effectiveness: The Conditions that Matter Most and a Look to the Future


  • Senator John Goedde, Idaho
  • Julie Pelegrin, Senior Attorney, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado

Online Learning and State College Completion Goals

As states face their worse fiscal situation in recent memory, legislators need innovative options to meet important goals in higher education. Online learning is a growing trend that increases access to traditional and non-traditional students, can cost less, and may result in equal or even better results for students. Discuss what we know about the effectiveness of online learning, how online learning can help states meet college completion goals, state policy issues that may provide barriers to online learning opportunities, and how states can maintain both quality and fiscal responsibility.


  • James Applegate, Senior Vice President for Program Development, Lumina Foundation for Education, Indiana

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  Vew James Applegate's Power Point Presentation

  • Paul Shiffman, Assistant Vice President for Strategic and Governmental Relations, Excelsior College, New York

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  View Paul Shiffman's Power Point Presentation


  • Darcy Hardy, Assistant Vice Chancellor/Executive Director, University of Texas TeleCampus

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   View Darcy Hardy's Power Point Presentation

12:15 pm - 1:30 pm

Concurrent Sessions

State Educational Data Systems and Student Privacy  (CLE credits may be available for this session)

As states develop more sophisticated ways to collect and use student data to help drive decisions, protecting student privacy becomes a major concern.  The executive director of the Data Quality Campaign, along with an author of a recent Fordham Law School study of educational data privacy, will discuss the current state of data privacy protections and what states may want to consider as data collection and use expands.


  • Joel Reidenberg, Professor of Law and Director, Center on Law and Information Policy, Fodham Law School, New York
  • Aimee Guidera, Executive Director, Data Quality Campaign, Washington, D.C.

Improving Student Success in Remedial Education

More than one-third of all public college students enroll in at least one remedial or developmental course. The more remedial courses students take, the less likely they are to graduate. Hear about research on what works to improve the success of students enrolled in developmental courses.


  • Tom Bailey, Director, National Center for Postsecondary Research, New York
  • Shanna Jaggars, Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center, New York
  • Peter Adams, Director of Accelerated Learning, Community College Baltimore County, Maryland

1:45 pm - 3:00 pm 

Concurrent Sessions

The Role of the State Legislature in School Finance Litigation  (CLE credits may be available for this session)

Since the 1970s, all but five states have experienced challenges to their school finance systems.  School finance litigation can continue for years and create political animosities that can fester even longer.  It does not have to be this way.  Nationally recognized attorney and education equality advocate, Michael Rebell, argues that state courts can—and should—engage state legislatures in remedying constitutional defects in school finance systems. Experiencing this engagement firsthand, Representative Rae Ann Kelsch will offer her take on how North Dakota resolved a school finance lawsuit outside of the courtroom.


  •  Representative Rick Glazier, North Carolina


  • Michael Rebell, Adjunct Associate Professor of Law and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York 
  • Representative Rae Ann Kelsch, North Dakota

Performance Funding in Higher Education

Many state legislatures are looking for new ways to fund higher education, given tight state budgets, rising tuition, and low college completion rates. Explore the pros and cons of performance-based funding, which links state funding to performance indicators like course completion, degree completion rates, or the number of low-income and minority graduates.


  • Kevin Dougherty, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York

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3:15 pm - 4:30 pm 

Plenary Session

What Works to Close the Achievement Gap:  Healthier Students are Better Learners

State policy to improve educational outcomes cannot only focus on what happens in the classroom but must strategically and comprehensively address social and health disparities impacting our youth.


  •  Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, New York


  • Senator Eleanor Sobel, Florida


  • Charles Basch, Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York

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View Charles Basch's Power Point Presentation


The Pew Center on the States Weblink: The Cost of Delay: State Dental Policies Fail One in Five Children

Sunday, March 14th

9:00 am - 10:15 am 

Plenary Session

Insights on Current and Future Education Reforms:  A Conversation with Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch (This session is sponsored by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation)

Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch are two of today's most well-respected American educational thinkers.  While at odds on policy solutions over the years, they both share a deep passion for improving education.  They wil discuss their ongoing debates regarding current and emerging education policy changes and reforms from the popular Education Week blog, Bridging Differences, in this special closing plenary session.

Moderator:  Richard Dean Colvin, Director, Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, New York

Speakers:  Deborah Meier, Senior Scholar and Adjunct Professor, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, New York
Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University, New York

10:30 am - Noon

Plenary Session

College Readiness:  Next Steps for Advancing State Policy

State legislatures have tried many new policies to improve college readiness, but most have been isolated rather than systemic reforms.  Many have focused on college preparation but lack a connection and alignment with higher education entrance standards and requirements.  Learn how states can design K-20 reform more strategically.

Moderator:  Pat Callan, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, California

Speakers:  Tom Bailey, Director, National Center for Postsecondary Research, New York
David Spence, President, Southern Regional Education Board, Georgia 


Meeting Adjourns