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

How Each State Distributes Money for Public Schools and At-Risk Students  The Every Student Succeeds Act has brought a new focus to school funding and how it works, including a new federal requirement for states to report how much individual schools receive per pupil. But the number of approaches states take to support their schools, and whether they account for special student populations, still vary dramatically. That’s an easy takeaway from a new Education Commission of the States report on the K-12 funding models all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Published on Tuesday, the report looks at how each state handles the following aspects of K-12 aid. (Politics K-12 at Education Week)

New Law Requires All High School Students To Fill Out FAFSA Before Graduating  A new state law designed to broaden access to federal financial aid will require all Illinois high school students to complete the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid before graduating, starting next year. Gov. J.B. Pritzker visited Eisenhower High School in Decatur on Friday to sign the bill, saying it will give thousands of more students access to financial aid and affordable options for college. “We want to be the kind of state that makes college affordable so our brightest minds can stay right here in Illinois,” Pritzker said in his prepared remarks. Starting with the 2020-21 school year, students will have to complete the FAFSA, or an alternative state form created by the Illinois State Board of Education, as part of their high school graduation requirements. (The News-Gazette)

50-State Comparison: K-12 Funding  Across all 50 states, there are different ways in which states allocate K-12 funding to districts. Education Commission of the States has collected information on general funding model structure, base per pupil, special education, English language learner, at-risk, gifted and talented, and small school funding. In addition to identifying which states include mechanisms for base funding and special populations funding, this resource also provides information on how those mechanisms work. For example, how are states identifying at-risk students and making allocations to support them? To classify funding mechanisms that appear in state statute or in regulations, the Education Commission of the States created definitions for the terms used. Those definitions are found at the bottom of this page.

A Look at the History of State School Safety Legislation in the Last 2 Decades  This is the first in a series of blog posts that explore state efforts to improve school safety through legislation, initiatives, task forces and more. This series aims to inform state efforts to make schools and higher education institutions safe places to learn and work. If there is more information we can provide or technical assistance we can offer, please contact us. Student safety and well-being have long been a top priority for state policymakers. At Education Commission of the States, we have been tracking and analyzing school safety legislation for more than two decades, and in that time we’ve seen an ebb and flow of policies related to maintaining safe learning environments.

Illinois State Board of Education Releases New World Languages Standards  Foreign language teachers in Illinois are being asked to update the way they teach those courses starting in the upcoming school year by putting more emphasis on world cultures and how to use languages across different academic disciplines. The Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday released its newly-updated educational standards for world languages, replacing ones that were adopted in 1997. “The Illinois State Board of Education supports biliteracy, not only to prepare students to thrive in an increasingly global society and economy but also to build stronger and more connected communities here at home,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala said in a news release. “Exploring and interacting with different cultures and perspectives strengthens students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”