Education Commission Of The States Essay

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Education Commission of the States (ECS) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, interstate organization composed of forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. Its primary purpose is to improve public education by researching, gathering, and disseminating information to inform educational policy makers and leaders across the United States. Now in its fourth decade of service to American public education, ECS supports the diverse needs of numerous stakeholders.

History And Organization

In his 1964 book titled Shaping Educational Policy, former Harvard University president, James Bryant Conant, called for a national educational policy partnership among the states. Early in 1965, his call was answered when John W. Gardner of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and former North Carolina governor Terry Sanford led the creation of the Compact for Education—the Congress-approved, state-endorsed, agreement that created the ECS. Two years later, ECS sprung into action as the operational branch of the Compact for Education out of its national headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Today, each state and territory that makes up the Education Commission of the States is represented by seven commissioners, including one state legislator from each house, the governor, and four others that she or he appoints. ECS is financially supported by a wide range of grants, sponsorships, state fees, and contracts.

Purpose And Goals

The primary purposes and goals of the ECS are detailed in the Compact for Education and in the ECS statement of mission, values, and goals. At its core, ECS acts as an advocate for the improvement of American public education through its varied approaches to informing state leaders and the general public about educational policy issues. These approaches include providing research, policy analysis, technical assistance, recommendations, and publications to educational decision makers, as well as creating a nonpartisan forum for interstate communication and collaboration across educational policy issues. Further, ECS acts as a national clearinghouse for all relevant research and information related to educational policy.

Contributions To Education

ECS is well respected as an educational policy resource due to its comprehensive and significant contributions to the field. In addition to its services to members of the commission, ECS offers a wide range of resources to the general public. These resources include up-to-date news and information provided on the ECS Web site and in electronic publications and newsletters; policy research and analysis on a wide range of relevant topics; national, state, and regional policy conferences, workshops, and seminars; technical assistance and technology-related services; a quarterly report, numerous print publications, and links to additional resources across a diverse set of educational issue areas; and the ECS Clearinghouse—the country’s only complete database of state and national policy enactments, multistate reports, and links to detailed information across more than 100 educational policy issue areas.


  1. Conant, J. (1964). Shaping educational policy. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Education Commission of the States:

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