The following resources focus on the educational climate and betterment of those serving the K–12 educational community.

Balanced assessments: Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has posted updated Student Learning Objective (SLO) guidelines. In particular a previous webinar about what balanced assessments are and the KIDS specific information might be of interest. 

Virtual PERA Coach newsletter: A publication created by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council and the Illinois State Board of Education to guide you in implementing the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA). All issues contain website links and resources. The most recent issue discusses how to use evaluation data and sustainability.

Draft regulations for new federal law: 
The U.S. Department of Education has released its much-awaited draft regulations to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in December. The new law grants much more authority to states and to local districts than the No Child Left Behind law, which it replaces. (Ed Source, May 26).

Making the Grade: A 50-State Analysis of School Accountability Systems. (Center for American Progress). This report analyzes the measures that states currently include in their accountability systems and examines how state systems compare with the new law’s provisions, which will take effect in the 2017–18 school year.

Mind the Gap: Twenty Years of Progress and Retrenchment in School Funding, Staffing Resources, and Achievement Gaps. This report focuses on the relationship between school funding, resource allocation, and achievement among students from low-income families, tackling the assumption that greater resources, delivered through fair and equitable school funding systems, could help raise academic outcomes and reduce the achievement gap. Using more than 20 years of revenue and expenditure data for schools, the authors empirically tested the idea that increasing investments in schools generally is associated with greater access to resources as measured by staffing ratios, class sizes, and the competitiveness of teacher wages. (Source: Educational Testing Services).

Commentary: ESSA’s Success Requires Stakeholder Engagement. (Education WeekMay 11). The Every Student Succeeds Act returns significant management authority over K-12 education to the state and local school district levels. While the details for implementing this new federal law, known as ESSA, are still falling into place, this is a time in which garnering input from everyone with a stake in the law is key.

Making the Senior Year More Meaningful: A look at what states are doing to make senior year in high school more relevant with full class schedules and coursework necessary to enter postsecondary education prepared for credit-bearing coursework.

State Policy Leadership for the Future: A new report from Education Commission of the States and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, State Policy Leadership for the Future: History of state coordination and governance and alternatives for the future, highlights how states have revisited their governance arrangements in response to changing conditions and expectations.

New Education Majority: Attitudes and Aspirations of Parents and Families of Color. (The Leadership Conference Education Fund). 
This report reveals the results of surveys and focus groups of Latino and African-American parents asked what they thought about America’s K–12 system, as well as what sort of education they want for their children.

Advanced Placement: Model policy components: This education policy analysis reviews key components of a comprehensive state AP policy and model state policies that align with each component. This report is accompanied by a 50-State Comparison.

Accountability: California state board adds school climate to potential list of metrics.
 The California State Board of Education approved a historic policy shift in how it will evaluate schools, moving from a system based solely on standardized test scores toward one taking a broader look at school improvement, academic achievement and student well-being. (EdSource, May 11).

The Arts Education Partnership, ESSA and a Well-Rounded Education. The latest blog post on ED Note comes from Jane Best, director of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP). One of AEP’s current priorities is developing resources that support the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which opens several important opportunities for including the arts in U.S. classrooms.

New video: How Market Research Can Help Build Arts Audiences. Market research expert Bob Harlow shows how arts organizations can use qualitative and quantitative research to attract and retain new audiences. Harlow’s talk is based on his report, Taking Out the Guesswork: A Guide to Using Research to Build Arts Audiences, which distills lessons about audience research from the experiences of several arts organizations that received Wallace support.