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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

By the People:
The State of Education

October 24, 2005
Nebraska public education has had many successes in the past decade. In fact, Nebraska students rank in the top ten in almost every national measure of student achievement. Despite these achievements, Nebraska education policymakers, school administrators, teachers and parents are confronting a variety of issues critical to the structure and performance of Nebraska public schools.

The introduction of the federal No Child Left Behind achievement standards and rigorous state standards have caused educators to consider what material needs to be taught to students in order for them to both meet standards and prepare them for the future. Also at issue is which level of government (federal, state or local) should make decisions about what educational services are offered, what standards should be set, and how students should be assessed.

Additionally the debate over how to adequately and equitably pay for educational services was a focus of Nebraska education policymakers, as evidenced by two lawsuits filed by close to 50 Nebraska school districts against the State of Nebraska about the current state aid to education formula. Yet another emotional issue was the 2005 passage of LB 126 in the Nebraska Unicameral, which forced the merger of many small rural school districts and signaled the move toward district consolidation.

On Monday, October 24th, residents of Central Nebraska gathered on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Kearney to discuss these issues and hear from a distinguished panel of experts on education policy. Kearney was one of sixteen other communities across the nation that discussed important domestic issues that week, part of a local-national initiative called By the People. This was the second By the People event to be held at UNK. It is a joint partnership between MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, NET Television, UNK Office of the Chancellor, UNK College of Education, UNK Department of Political Science, and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. Video highlights of the discussions are available here.

Additional Resources:
For a brief background and discussion guide, please read The State of Education Background Materials.
The PPC has archived of many of our events online; to watch the NETV presentation of this event online click here.
Click here to read the Public Policy Center final report.

Sponsored by:
University of Nebraska Public Policy Center
University of Nebraska at Kearney
NET Television

Local support for University of Nebraska Public Policy Center By the People Deliberation Week project is provided by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, and by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

In The News
What to Teach, Locations and How to Pay for Schools Topic at NET Event. (2005-10-25). Kearney Hub.

Click here to learn more about By the People events.