State Boards Addressed Strategic Plans, Career Skills, and Teaching Endorsements in 2019

By Joseph Hedger

This past year saw state boards of education reviewing their career and technical education (CTE) systems, adopting specialized teaching endorsements, and engaging in board- and departmentwide strategic planning, according to NASBE’s State Board Insight.

Administration. All state boards discussed local and state education administrative items in 2019, including state board structure planning, state superintendent searches, and board member compensation. Nineteen boards touched upon strategic planning for the state education agency or state board. Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Utah updated language and priorities in their own strategic plans. Delaware adopted a new strategic plan in October, and North Carolina adopted its 2025 Statewide Strategic Plan in August.

Nine state boards strategized on community and family engagement in their state. The Arkansas State Board of Education, for example, voted in February to approve its department of education’s Family and Community Engagement Framework for meeting the needs of children from birth to grade 16.

National Assessments. The October release of the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results showed Mississippi with the largest gains in reading and mathematics scores for grades 4 and 8 since 2017. Nine state boards discussed where their states landed in relation to each other based on the national landscape.

CTE. The reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, known as Perkins V, requires eligible state agencies to develop state plans in consultation with key stakeholders, the governor, and other state agencies with authority for CTE that extends through fiscal year 2023. In 2019, 32 state boards discussed their Perkins V state plans. Alabama, Delaware, and Washington State submitted plans that combined Perkins V and Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act requirements in order to align workforce and education funding streams.

Other CTE actions included raising awareness of career options, which the Utah State Board of Education did by approving standards for a seventh grade course in College and Career Awareness in June. Through application-based lessons, students develop foundational skills and explore careers based on their fields of interest. In August, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted a process for approving industry-based credentials and certifications related to its A-F accountability system. A College and Career Ready Index lists certifications and credentials for high school students that are aligned to their CTE standards and reflect in-demand jobs and occupations.

STEM. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education landed on 16 state board agendas. The Ohio board approved a resolution to adopt changes to its provisional educator license for teachers in STEM schools, and Tennessee approved a new permanent course designed to help prepare K-5 students for future coursework in middle- and high-school STEM-related CTE courses.

Teaching Endorsements. Eighteen state boards worked on adding or updating endorsement areas for teacher preparation programs. Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York focused on administrative or leadership endorsements; Alabama and Florida adopted new or revised endorsements in dyslexia therapist and reading respectively; and New Hampshire and New Jersey approved rules on CTE teaching endorsements, such as technology and engineering. In October, the Virginia state board approved an add-on endorsement in the licensure regulations for school personnel to teach economics and personal finance.