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

Rethinking English Learner Data – Illinois’ Plans Under the Every Student Succeeds Act is an analysis of Illinois’ strengths and shortcomings with EL data, structured around a five-point framework from a recent New America report. It aims to illustrate one example that leaders in other states can use as a touchstone for their own EL-related plans under ESSA.

ISBE Asks For $15 Billion in Equitable Funding  The Illinois State Board of Education voted unanimously to ask the General Assembly to practically double state funding for public schools. (NPR Illinois’ Education Desk)

Illinois High Schools Test Competency-Based Approach to Education  Some Illinois high schools are abandoning aspects of traditional classroom instruction and reshaping the way kids learn through a new style called Competency-Based Education. (Chicago Tribune)

Opinion: 2018: The Year ESSA Gets Interesting  Andrew J. Rotherham, co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education, explains why the approval of state ESSA plans is only the beginning of a longer process. (The 74)

Public Education Funding Inequity: In An Era Of Increasing Concentration Of Poverty and Resegregation  A new report explores the many ways America’s education system fails vulnerable students — beginning with neighborhood schools that remain deeply segregated and continuing into classrooms where too many students lack access to skilled teachers, rigorous courses and equitable school funding. (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights)

States Continue Advancing Strategies to Scale Work-Based Learning States increasingly need a more highly skilled workforce to meet the requirements of businesses, keep up with a rapidly changing economy, and accelerate growth that leads to economic opportunity for workers and families. As a result, governors recognize that their role is to bring together education, workforce, and economic development as talent pipeline partners to better equip workers with skills businesses need. Work-based learning approaches have emerged from these partnerships as a promising strategy to address the mismatch between employer needs and the skill levels of available workers. This report summarizes key actions governors can take to embed work-based learning across education, workforce, and economic development systems. (National Governors Association)

How Does Arts Education Fare in the Final Round of State ESSA Plan Submissions?  This Ed Note blog post reviews the final 38 state ESSA plans, highlights where all 50 states and Washington, D.C. include music and the arts in their plans, and comes from guest author Lynn Tuttle, director of public policy and professional development at the National Association for Music Education.

Expansion of AP Computer Science Courses Draws More Girls and Minorities  Testing totals for female, black and Latino students all doubled in 2017, following the national debut of an AP course in computer science principles. It joined a longer-established AP course focused on the programming language Java. (Washington Post)

IL – Using Data to Help ELLs Succeed Requires Partnerships, Persistence, Report Argues  Illinois’ use of English-language-learner data as an “emerging bright spot” for states looking to better serve and understand the growing, but often misunderstood, student population, according to a report from a Washington-based think tank. (Education Week)

MI Unveils New Data-Driven Parent Dashboard  As states look for way to increase transparency, Michigan rolls out the first phase of a custom-developed Parent Dashboard. (edscoop) 

Net Neutrality Fight Shifts to the States Some state officials want to take action to protect their residents against the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality.

Children’s National Health System led a multidisciplinary study that was published in Pediatrics details research indicating that pediatricians would mandate mental health screenings during checkups if increased training and support were provided.

Karma is a…Possibility, Explains New Policy Memo Voucher advocates inadvertently paved the way for Democrats’ plans to skirt a punitive element of the new tax law.

Alternative School Discipline Strategies  This Policy Snapshot highlights trends in the use of restorative practices and positive behavioral supports and interventions.

Restraint and Seclusion   This Policy Snapshot examines state legislation related to restraint and seclusion practices.

Suspension and Expulsion  This Policy Snapshot looks at recent legislation addressing school discipline, which has primarily focused on reducing the use of suspension and expulsion, limiting lengths of suspension, implementing reporting requirements and supporting student re-engagement.

High School Students’ Views on Who Influences Their Thinking about Education and Careers  This report uses data from the 2012 follow-up of the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 to examine who public high school students’ view as their main influence when considering education after high school and careers. Family members were most often reported as the main influence for students’ thinking about education after high school, followed by themselves; school staff (teacher or counselor) were less frequently reported as the main influence. Family members and themselves were most often reported as the main influence for students’ thinking about careers, with school staff less frequently reported as the main influence. Family members more often were reported as students’ main influence for thinking about postsecondary education than for their thinking about careers, while students reported relying on themselves more when thinking about careers than when thinking about postsecondary education.  (National Center for Education Statistics)

NM – State Adopts National Arts Education Standards The state has adopted the National Core Arts Standards, Ruszkowski said, which cover dance, music, theater, visual arts and media. The change, he said, set to take effect in July, will ensure that public school students in grades K-12 have an opportunity to study at least one of the five disciplines. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

States Leading for Equity event One Year Later:  How States are Leading for Equity  The Council of Chief State School Officers, the Aspen Institute Education & Sociaety Program and America’s Promise Alliance invite you to attend this event on February 16, 2018.  The event will celebrate states’ progress and look forward to the challenging work that remains.

Seeking Feedback on School Quality/Student Success Indicators  Stakeholder groups shared their recommendations during the State Board meeting in January for how the state should measure school quality and student success in the new balanced accountability system. ISBE is requesting feedback on the recommendations provided for the P-2, Elementary-Middle Grade, and the College and Career Readiness indicators. Please submit feedback to no later than February 16.

FY 2018 Arts and Foreign Language Planning Assistance Grant Available  The Illinois Arts Council Agency has released a Request for Proposals (RFP).  The purpose of this RFP is to solicit proposals from eligible applicants that seek resources to develop district-based plans for initiating, strengthening, or expanding instruction in the arts or foreign languages.  Full guidelines and materials can be found on the Illinois Arts Council Agency’s Arts and Foreign Language Education Grant Program. Proposals are due Thursday, March 8.

The Real Learning for Real Life (RLRL) coalition has relaunched with the goal of closing achievement gaps and preparing the whole student for college, career and life after high school. RLRL is focused on sharing materials on how to improve schools through the  Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Can a Test Ever Be Fair? How Today’s Standardized Tests Get Made  A psychometrician talks about testing bias, holding psychometricians accountable for the exams they create and whether the future holds any innovation for a field still dominated by math, language and multiple choice questions. (EdSurge)

Commission Shares Progress on Efforts to Expand Social-Emotional Learning in Schools  Stand-alone social-emotional learning (SEL) programs can lead to better student behavior and boost academic growth, but educators need more guidance and training on how to blend SEL into their teaching, according to a midterm report released from the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development. (Education Dive)

ISBE to Hire Storytellers  The post on the Illinois State Board of Education’s website shows that the agency plans to hire “storytellers” to relay tales of successes in Illinois classrooms. (Associated Press)

House Education Panel Debates Student-Data-Privacy  In a 90-minute hearing on “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Policy: Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Future of Education,” Congress discussed how to balance educational data and student privacy. (Education Week)