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

Citizenship as a Classroom Priority: New Gallup Poll Shows 74 Percent of Superintendents Say ‘Preparing Engaged Citizens’ Has Become a Major Challenge for Their Districts  Three-quarters of district superintendents say preparing students to be engaged citizens is a challenge for schools. This is a huge jump over past years. (The 74)

After Five Years, a Bold Set of Teacher-Prep Standards Still Faces Challenges  It has been five years since the teacher-preparation landscape was shaken up with the adoption of standards for accreditation that focused on evidence and outcomes, and teacher-training programs are still feeling the ripple effects.  The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, which was created by a 2010 merger between two national accrediting bodies, officially approved its new standards on Aug. 29, 2013.

Curriculum Reform in the Nation’s Largest School Districts  This report provides an analysis of the instructional materials used by the 30 largest school districts in the country.

50-State Comparison: State Policies on School Discipline  Finding the balance between promoting safe and productive schools while reducing the adverse effects of exclusionary discipline can be challenging for state policymakers.  This new 50-State Comparison provides context for school discipline policy discussions by outlining – in an easily accessible format – state laws on suspension, expulsion, alternatives to discipline, reporting requirements and more.

Compare the States  Explore the nine sortable tables to discover how the states and the District of Columbia compare with each other and with the nation over all in terms of their demographic challenges, the educational level of their residents, faculty pay, college enrollment, diversity, graduation rates, tuition costs, and much more. Return to the main Almanac page.

Arming Teachers And Expelling Students Is Not The Answer To School Shootings, And It’s Dangerous  In response to the rash of school shootings in the United States, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is now considering allowing states to use federal funds to put guns in schools, training and arming marshals and teachers.  This blog from earlier this year describes why arming teachers instead of creating more supportive school environments is the wrong approach.

The education of Betsy DeVos: Why her school choice agenda has not advanced?  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos came to Washington to promote the cause of her life – school choice. Republicans controlled both the House and Senate. President Trump had promised a $20 billion program. But more than a year and a half later, the federal push is all but dead.

A Complex Equation for School Quality  A broad range of factors go into weighing how well the nation’s schools are living up to their responsibility to ensure that students are on track academically and prepared to take their place in a complex, ever-changing society. This third and final installment of Quality Counts 2018 digs deeply into test scores, high school graduation rates, and other data that focus on the student achievement piece of that picture. In addition, the report analyzes a wealth of socioeconomic and educational data that chart the trajectory toward success in each of the states and for the nation as a whole.

Data Matters:  Using Chronic Absence to Accelerate Action for Student Success  Based on data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the analysis compares differences in school chronic absence levels from the 2013-14 and 2015-16 school years. The analysis also finds that the chronic absence rates in the U.S. vary widely by state and even within states, highlighting the value of collecting local data. The report shares a sampling of the tools available to schools, districts and community partners for identifying the causes of chronic absenteeism and developing solutions tailored to local challenges and resources. Recommendations for key partners illustrate how they can begin to take action or deepen ongoing efforts to improve attendance.

Graduation Requirements Matter – and Differ – More Than You Think— examining the equity implications of the way that states structure high school graduation choices for students. In states that offer more than one way for students to graduate, including at least one option at the college- and career-ready (CCR) level, it makes a big difference whether all students automatically start out on the CCR pathway (with the option to opt into a less rigorous option if needed) or whether the burden is on students to proactively opt into the CCR pathway. In states where the CCR option is the default for all students, an average of 88 percent of students ultimately complete the CCR option – compared with an average of just 47 percent when students have to opt into the CCR option. CCR default states also have much higher CCR completion rates for students of color and low-income students, as well as smaller gaps between students of color and white students

NC – State Launches $35 Million School Safety Grant  Schools across North Carolina will be able to get help securing their buildings and hiring more security and mental health professionals, the state announced Tuesday. (

IL Libraries Receive Grants for After-School Programs  More than two dozen libraries across Illinois will receive grants to teach middle and high school students how to use the latest technology. Secretary of State Jesse White, who also serves as the state librarian, announced the some $525,000 in Project Next Generation grants. (Associated Press via The Charlotte Observer)

Whole Child Approaches to Education Are Especially Effective for Students Living With Trauma  Each year in the United States, 46 million children are exposed to violence, crime, abuse, homelessness, or food insecurity, as well as a range of other experiences that cause psychological trauma. These experiences create toxic stress that can affect children’s attention, learning, and behavior. Research on human development shows that the effects of such trauma can be mitigated when students learn in a positive school climate that supports academic, physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development—an approach known as “whole child” education. Indeed, such an environment boosts achievement for all children, regardless of their circumstances.

Creative Youth Development: Transforming the Learning Environment  CYD bridges youth development with arts education by combining the arts with programming to foster life skills, such as leadership, teamwork and communication. This report explores the design and impact of CYD programs, and provides policy considerations for states looking for ways to narrow the achievement gap and support student success.