RD192 - Education Commission of the States 2013 Annual Report

Executive Summary:
Writing about the creation of the Education Commission of the States in December 1965, former North Carolina Gov. Terry Sanford said, “We must never forget that although each of us may represent a different perspective in education, we all share the belief that we live in an explosive era when a massive effort must be made to improve the education of every American.”

These words are just as true today. State leaders know they can’t improve education alone. Despite our diversity, we can share experiences and innovations across state lines to benefit every student across the country. In fact we must do so, because the explosion of the education frontier makes it almost impossible for one state to tackle the breathtaking number of education issues it faces.

ECS is your connection to best practices in education policy and to each other. We help you learn what other states are doing, understand what the best academic research says and connect you with your peers and with experts.

Here is just a snapshot of what we did for you last year:

• Our staff made more than 70 visits to 38 states for legislative hearings, conference presentations and meetings with education stakeholders. I visited more than 25 states myself.

• We added 2,140 policies — enacted laws and executive orders — to the ECS State Policy Database.

• We helped you network with 400 of your peers at our annual National Forum on Education Policy on June 25-27 in St. Louis. Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, the 2013-15 ECS Chair, presided over the meeting.

• We fielded questions from more than 500 commissioners, education leaders and members of the media through our information hotline last year. Did I mention we got back to you within 24 hours if your request required more research?

And here’s something we didn’t do last year. We did not turn down a single request to provide in-person legislative testimony in a state.

While the worst of the recession is over, states are still asking tough questions about what should be funded with limited dollars and how to implement those programs and policies. You don’t have to make those decisions alone. Think of ECS as the extra staff on your team who can provide a national context for education reform. In fact, in response to your increasing needs and to keep up on the issues that are important to you, ECS created more new staff positions in 2013 than in the last five years combined.

This annual report tells our story for 2013, but we are most looking forward to 2014. Call and tell us how we can help you this year.

Jeremy Anderson
ECS President