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Watch: Experts Share ‘Playbooks’ for Taking Advantage of State Innovation Laws   

Montana is trying real-time assessments; Minnesota is tapping student expertise; South Carolina has menu of ideas for educators eager to experiment.


With state legislatures gaveling open their 2024 sessions, the Education Commission of the States, New Classrooms and KnowledgeWorks hosted a panel discussion on policies allowing schools to experiment with promising strategies. Experts discussed state laws that give educators freedom to innovate, ways to make sure local leaders know about those laws and how to engage legislators about the opportunities.

In a conversation moderated by Maybach Media’s Beth Hawkins, three state leaders describe their creative uses of local and federal innovation laws. The director of college and career readiness at the South Carolina Department of Education, Stephanie DiStasio talks about creating a “playbook” to let educators know what flexibility exists and what kinds of programs they're allowed to try; Julie Murgel, chief operating officer for the Montana Office of Public Instruction, talks about her state’s assessment experiment, which measures student skills throughout the year instead of in one end-of-course exam; and Minnesota’s Lucy Payne, a member of the teacher education faculty at the University of St. Thomas, describes bringing students’ voices to policy discussions.

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