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State Legislators to Hear Education Reform Leaders on Improving Student Achievement

NEW YORK, NY (March 4, 2010) – As many states consider drastic cuts to education spending, legislators know they have to find solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing schools today. With education spending accounting for more than half of all state budgets, lawmakers must find ways to do more with less—and improve student achievement at the same time.

To this end, leaders in education policy and reform efforts will convene in New York City on March 13 and 14 to share proven strategies that turn around troubled schools and boost student achievement. This year, The National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual National Education Seminar is co-sponsored by the National Center for Postsecondary Research at Teachers College, Columbia University, one of the nation’s leading institutions for educating the next generation of teachers.

“Now, more than ever, state legislators need to know what works to improve student achievement while keeping costs under control,” said William T. Pound, NCSL executive director. “This conference brings together the best ideas and proven strategies learned from research and practice on the most important issues in education reform efforts—charter schools, bridging achievement gaps and teacher performance. It’s all done under the notion that together states will continue to provide the quality, first-class education for the next generation.”

Thomas Bailey, director of the National Center for Postsecondary Research, said, “Teachers College is pleased to welcome the NCSL and share with them the college’s research and practical expertise on education issues.”

On March 13, a full-day gathering at the Teachers College Cowin Center, 525 W. 120th Street, Manhattan, will feature Bailey as well as Patrick M. Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education; and David Spence, president of the Southern Regional Education Board. They will discuss how states can design K-20 education reform more strategically.

State legislators from around the country will discuss the most important education issues and hear presentations about what works to improve education by Teachers College faculty, including:

  • Amy Stuart Wells, on school choice, charter schools, public school desegregation, and student achievement gaps, and how these issues affect state policy;
  • Thomas Bailey, on how community colleges are evolving and what works to improve the success of students in developmental courses;
  • Michael Rebell, on the trends in school finance litigation and the role of state legislatures;
  • Kevin Dougherty, on linking state funding of higher education to performance indicators such as course and degree completion, or the number of low-income or minority graduates; and
  • Charles Basch, on social and health disparities in children, an often missing link in efforts to close the achievement gap.

A discussion of how online learning can help states improve college completion will be led by James Applegate of the Lumina Foundation for Education; Paul Shiffman, an executive at Excelsior College; and Darcy Hardy of the University of Texas TeleCampus.

Joel Reidenberg, Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham University; and Aimee Guidera of the Data Quality Campaign, will discuss state educational data systems and student privacy.

On March 14, at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York City, NCSL delegates will attend two sessions featuring national education policy experts Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch. They will lead a discussion on “Insights on Current and Future Education Reforms” that will chronicle the ongoing debate regarding current and emerging education policy changes and reforms.

Reporters and other members of the media may attend the conference at no cost, but please let us know you are coming by contacting NCSL’s press room, 202-624-8667, or Patricia Lamiell at Teachers College, 212-678-3979, or 973-449-7086. For logistical questions, please contact Teachers College.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

The National Center for Postsecondary Research (NCPR) at Teachers College measures the effectiveness of programs designed to help students make the transition to college and master the basic skills needed to advance to a degree. NCPR is currently pursuing research on developmental summer bridge programs, developmental learning communities, and dual enrollment.

Teachers College is the nation’s oldest and largest graduate school of education, and perennially ranked among its very best. The College is affiliated with Columbia University, but it is legally and financially independent.