NCSL Education Standing Committee News Summer 2018





Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plans

To date, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved 49 state and territory ESSA plans. Louisiana is the first state to have their new assessments approved for implementation. The new method focuses on students’ English language arts (ELA) and social studies comprehension by using passages from books used in daily instruction, rather than those randomly selected. The pilot will be implemented in 20 high schools, across three districts and two charter networks.

Commission on School Safety

On June 21, the Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) met to discuss the impact of social media on student safety. The event, entitled “The Ecology of Schools: Fostering a Culture of Human Flourishing and Developing Character,” was composed of three panels: Cyberbullying and Social Media; Youth Consumption of Violent Entertainment; and Effects of Press Coverage on Mass Shootings.

On June 26, the Commission held a listening session at the Council of State Government’s headquarters in Lexington, Ky. The listening session was open to the public, as well as state and local officials. 

On July 24, FCSS representatives held a field visit in Adams County, Wisc. to observe the implementation of behavioral health frameworks. Following a tour of Adams-Friendship Middle School FCSS representatives were joined by Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker and other state leaders.

On Aug. 1, FCSS held a meeting in Pearcy, Ark. on “Proactively Protecting Our Schools.” The meeting consisted of two roundtable discussions to address the coordination between the school district and local law enforcement, training and response protocols. A livestream of the meeting is available.

Photo: (L-R) Sen. Max Wise (Ky.), NCSL’s Ben Erwin and Sen. Danny Carroll (Ky.) attend the Commission session in Lexington, Ky.

On Aug. 7, FCSS held its third listening session in Cheyenne, Wyo. with state and local leaders. The livestream of the listening session is available.

On Aug. 16, FCSS met to consider “Creating a Citadel of Learning: New Tools to Secure our Schools, Inside and Out.” The meeting included three panels focused on best practices for school building security; active shooter training for schools; and practitioner experience with school-based threat assessment. The livestream is available.

On Aug. 23, FCSS members participated in a field visit at the Miley Achievement Center in Las Vegas to highlight the successful physical security measures in schools. Panel discussion topics include local law enforcement perspective on school building security,and designing school building security. In addition to touring the school, FCSS members met with local school and law enforcement officials to discuss school building safety. The livestream of the panel discussion is available. For complete information on FCSS, visit the website

Additional valuable school safety resources from the United State Secret Service.

Senate Approves Frank Brogan to K-12 Post 

On June 25, the Senate voted to confirm Frank Brogan to serve as assistant secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education. DeVos applauded Brogan’s approval saying, “Frank has spent much of his career tirelessly working on behalf of America’s students. As a former public-school teacher and administrator, I know he will be vital to our work here at the department. I am delighted to finally have him on our team.”

Prior to his confirmation, NCSL was pleased to host Brogan at NCSL’s Spring Education Standing Committee Meeting in Santa Fe, N.M., where state legislators shared information on state best practices and innovative state-led policy solutions.

New CTE Law!

On July 31, President Donald Trump signed H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, also known as Perkins V, into law, reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. The bill’s reauthorization includes $1 billion to support states’ efforts for secondary and post-secondary skill training. States have one year to transition to the new law. For more information, visit: the website.

President Donald Trump Makes Nomination to Department of Education Post

On Aug. 21, President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Robert L. King for U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for Postsecondary Education. King is the current president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. He previously served as president and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation and chancellor of the State University of New York System. He is also a nine-year member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President George W. Bush.


Education Committee Summit Documents

ED Committee Business Meeting

State-Led Strategies to End Childhood Hunger: Learn, Share and Lead

Closing Opportunity Gaps: Early Education

Supporting K-12 Students Through Engaging Afterschool Programming

New Models for American Higher Education

KIDS Count: Breakfast Session

Strengthening Rural Communities

The Engine of Change and Economic Growth: Computer Science Education Luncheon


New NCSL Resources

  • Legisbrief—“A Look at Third-Grade Reading Retention Policies”: Many states have considered legislation to retain students in third grade if they are behind in reading.  This Legisbrief give legislators an update on that action on this policy.
  • New infographicClose Opportunity Gaps and Boost Economies with Early Learning: NCSL has created an interactive graphic to help legislators better understand the research on early education opportunity gaps and the economic arguments for addressing them.
  • Literature review“Building Social and Emotional Skills in Afterschool Programs”: NCSL has compiled a review of the literature on social and emotional learning and efforts to increase access to in afterschool programs.
  • New podcastSummer Learning Programs Closing Achievement Gaps (The NCSL Blog  is available for more information). NCSL released a new podcast on the hot topic of summer learning loss and great programs that can help address this challenge. 
  • New publication on higher education“Challenges Facing Legislatures and Post-Secondary Education.” This publication is the first in a series called “A Legislator’s Toolkit for the New World of Higher Education.”

Watch your inbox for the new #NCSLinDC weekly email updates on recent federal-state actions. For more information on NCSL’s Education Standing Committee State-Federal Affairs activities, please contact Joan Wodiska or Miranda McDonald.

More Resources

In-State NCSL Technical Assistance

NCSL can also provide customized technical assistance to you on any education topic.  We can provide testimony on the latest research and legislative trends, organize and host in-state meetings, or answer your specific question on state legislation.  Please contact Michelle Exstrom

Your #NCSLinDC Education Team

For more information on NCSL’s Education Standing Committee State-Federal Affairs activities, please contact Joan Wodiska or Miranda McDonald.


  • Capitol Forum, Washington, D.C., Dec. 4-7