Missouri Pursues Performance Funding for Colleges
The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education accepted recommendations from a task force on performance-based funding for colleges and universities, an approach supported by Governor Jay Nixon. The task force, appointed by the Commissioner of Higher Education, suggested a plan to reward institutions of higher education for improved student outcomes. Institutions would be rewarded based on performance in five key areas:
- Student success and progress;
- Degree attainment;
- Quality of student learning;
- Financial responsibility and efficiency; and
- Support of institution-specific measures.
Award criteria would differ based on institution type. For example, community colleges would be judged on factors including the number of students completing a degree within three years or transferring to a university, while public universities would be assessed on data such as the number of freshman completing 24 credit hours or returning for their sophomore year and increases in the number of degrees awarded. The performance-based awards would be in addition to an institution's base funding for a given year, and would be capped at 3 percent of an institution's total annual state funding. The National Governors Association has explored performance funding for higher education in "From Information to Action: Revamping Higher Education Accountability Systems", available here.
(Contact: Travis Reindl)
Washington Energy Strategy Focuses on Efficiency, Distributed Sources
The Washington Department of Commerce has released the 2012 Washington State Energy Strategy, a plan for meeting future energy needs without compromising economic and environmental goals. That is the first update to the state's energy plan since 1993. Since then, the state's energy bill has grown by 70 percent even though its population only grew by 26 percent. Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation directing the Department of Commerce to begin the update in 2010. The agency was required to balance three goals: maintaining competitive energy prices; fostering a clean energy economy and meeting obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation also established nine principles to guide the development of the plan. The updated plan focuses on three areas:
- Transportation, through increased transportation efficiency and reduced carbon emissions;
- Buildings, by creating a strong foundation of energy efficiency; and
- Distributed Energy, by increasing the use of alternative and renewable energy resources.
(Contact: Andrew Kambour)
Michigan Launches Online Talent Marketplace
Governor Rick Snyder recently launched an online tool developed to provide job seekers with a variety of services, from connecting to career mentors to evaluating the value of a particular education or training program. The site, www.MiTalent.org, is being launched in phases and will be fully operational in June 2012. The website already features the Career Matchmaker and the Career Investment Calculator. The Career Matchmaker was developed to help job seekers determine the industries and locations where their skills are in high demand today. Individuals who are seeking additional education or training can use the Career Investment Calculator to access information about the payoff of particular programs. Once completed, the site will allow individuals to create an electronic portfolio early in their educational careers.
(Contact: Erin Sparks)
Louisiana Announces Expanded Access to Primary and Preventive Care
Governor Bobby Jindal has announced a plan to expand access to primary and preventive care in central Louisiana. The plan includes extending outpatient hours for primary and specialty care to twelve hours on weekdays and eight hours on Saturdays and improving access to behavioral health services, potentially reducing the number of visits to emergency rooms. Inpatient and outpatient care providers are also being consolidated to one campus, which will make access to various medical professionals more convenient. In addition to addressing access to care, Governor Jindal announced that the region's major health center will undergo changes and a relocation to make it more efficient and modern. Under the plan, inpatient acute care beds will be aligned with the current average daily census with the intent of improving the efficiency of spending. Other changes include increasing the number of psychiatric and rehabilitation beds. Rehabilitation beds are being increased to address continuity of care between inpatient and outpatient settings.
(Contact: Jason Hsieh)
New York Awards $785 Million in Economic Development Funding
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the winners of the state's $200 million regional economic development competition. The competition was part of a larger initiative that distributed a total of $785 million to 10 regional councils, including tax incentives and existing grants. Governor Cuomo created the councils through an executive order, and gave them several months to develop plans for the competition. The state also created a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) to make it easier for businesses and other entities to apply for economic development funding, which is distributed through 29 different programs housed in nine agencies. The regional councils are responsible for reviewing and endorsing CFA applications. Additionally, approximately 800 eligible applicants will receive funding from NYSERDA's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. A guidebook is available with more information about the competition and the councils' duties.
(Contact: Garrett Groves)
Oklahoma Adopts Methamphetamine Ingredient Disposal Program
Oklahoma has unveiled a new program to help law enforcement secure meth labs and dispose of the ingredients used to make methamphetamine more efficiently and at lower cost to the state. Under the methamphetamine ingredient drop-off program, law enforcement will be able to dispose of materials seized from meth labs at secure containers around the state. Cleanup crews will pick up material from disposal containers every few weeks after the containers become full. The program is expected to lead to significant cost savings by allowing police officers to dispose of seized materials and return to work rather than having to spend time waiting for disposal crews to arrive. In addition, the state expects to save money by centralizing collection of the hazardous materials. The state spends hundreds or even thousands of dollars each time a disposal crew is dispatched to a meth lab site. This year, it spent approximately $1.4 million to dispose of hazardous materials seized from meth labs.
(Contact: Erin Sparks)
Oregon Adds Online Option to Tobacco Quit Line
The Oregon Tobacco Quit Line has added a new online option for tobacco users who wish to quit. The website provides live coaching, forums and tools that can be used to develop a personal quit plan. The services are free and available 24 hours a day. The new online service adds a convenient option for people who need anytime access or do not wish to use the phone. It was developed in response to user feedback. Funding for the Quit Line comes from taxes collected on tobacco products.
(Contact: Jason Hsieh)
New Mexico Announces Early Childhood Reading Initiative
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced a $17 million dollar initiative to help children learn to read. The program provides reading coaches, offers screening assessments to regularly monitor progress, increases funding for pre-K programs, and provides supplemental instruction for children in need of reading assistance. Of the $17 million, the state would spend approximately $6 million on reading coaches. Each coach would support a group of six elementary schools by working with teachers to incorporate best strategies into their classrooms. Additionally, teachers would use screening assessment tools to monitor reading progress. Governor Martinez will also work with New Mexico lawmakers to ensure that students would not be promoted from the 3rd to the 4th grade without learning basic reading skills.
(Contact: Albert Wat)
New Resources Available on the Common Core State Standards
The IDEA Partnership, a group of partnership organizations, state education agencies and other state agencies dedicated to collaborative work on behalf of students and youth with disabilities, developed an online collection of resources and materials on the common core state standards. The resources are designed to promote understanding and build consensus by:
- Outlining the guiding principles and assumptions behind the development and adoption of common core state standards;
- Identifying needs in the field; and
- Providing information and a resource guide for partners and other educational stakeholders.
The online collection also features dialogue guides which provide models for conducting interactive discussions about implementation issues with various stakeholder groups. The resources were developed in collaboration with over 100 individuals, organizations, states, and technical assistance centers. The IDEA Partnership plans to release additional materials in January 2012.
(Contact: Stephanie Shipton)
GAO Report Surveys State Small Business Credit Programs
A report released by the Government Accountability Office provides an initial overview of how states are using funding distributed through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The SSBCI funding was provided to states and territories to strengthen programs that support lending to small businesses and small manufacturers. According to GAO's survey of SSBCI applicants, states plan to support 153 lending programs with SSBIC funds, 69 of which are new programs being created because of the program. The lending programs include a variety of capital access and credit support programs, with venture capital programs receiving the largest amount of funds among the program types. In addition to providing an overview of how states plan to use the funds, the report offers recommendations to Treasury on the development of the performance measures for the SSBCI funding. According to the report, key attributes of successful performance measures include linkage to organizational goals, a measurable target, limited overlap with other measure, and a reflection of government-wide priorities such as quality, timeliness, and cost of service.
(Contact: Erin Sparks)
Report Encourages States to Improve Graduated Driver Licensing Laws
The License to Save Report, developed by the Allstate Foundation in conjunction with the National Safety Council, recommends that states implement comprehensive graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws. The report estimates that the laws could save 2,000 lives. GDL laws offer increased supervision and guidance to new, inexperienced drivers. The laws can include provisions that restrict nighttime driving, limit the number of passengers in the vehicle, and set minimum entry ages for learner's permits and licenses.
Teen driving crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths nationwide. The total cost associated with those deaths was approximately $38.3 billion in 2009. In some states, the enactment of GDL laws has decreased the incidence of teenage driving related deaths by 40 percent. The report also finds that implementation of GDL laws by all 50 states could generate an annual cost savings of $13.6 billion.
(Contact: Anne-Elizabeth Johnson)
Eight States Participate in Commonwealth Fund Medical Home Demonstration
The Commonwealth Fund recently released a report called "Building Medical Homes: Lessons from Eight States with Emerging Programs". The report describes lessons learned from eight different demonstration projects.
One of the common issues states faced was that the definition of a "medical home" has to be tailored depending on each state's needs and priorities. The report advises that it is valuable for states to focus on building provider capacity. States in the demonstration supported providers by giving them data, registries, electronic health record systems, and funding for dedicated care coordination staff. The states also chose to evaluate providers on data that is already routinely reported and on criteria already in use by national organizations. The report recommends that states balance the desire for improved performance with the cost of improvements by focusing on a limited number of practices or allowing temporary medical home status for some practices. It also recommends that states address antitrust concerns when multiple payers come together by acting as a neutral party for sensitive meetings or passing legislation that offers antitrust protection.
(Contact: Jason Hsieh)
Report Gives States Guidance on Public-Private Transportation Partnerships
A new report from the Brookings Institution examines state and international experience with public-private partnerships (PPPs or P3s) that handle transportation infrastructure. P3s can help states leverage private sector expertise to balance risk, improve performance and lower lifetime costs. They often involve complex contracts or processes that require technical expertise beyond what is available in most state transportation departments. The report recommends that states establish dedicated P3 units and work with the federal government to address technical gaps as needed. It also recommends that states make procurement and project decisions that are linked to outcomes and transparent.
(Contact: Andrew Kambour)
NGA Center Workshop: Economic Development in the Clean Energy Sector - Southern States
The NGA Center will be holding the last of three regional workshops January 10-11, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee to discuss strategies for fostering economic growth in the emerging area of clean energy. Topics of discussion will include: pivoting existing economic development efforts to clean energy industries, applying strategies from past successes such as biosciences and information technology, and determining where clean energy's unique attributes require new approaches. Targeted participants are governors' energy and economic development advisors from the following states and territories: Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Guam, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia. A previous workshop was held for the Northeast, Midwest, and Western states. States that were unable to attend the workshop in their region are welcome to attend the Tennessee workshop.
(Contact: Aliza Wasserman)