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About ECS
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What We Do
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Annual Reports & Tax Returns

How is ECS different? We’ve created an infographic that tells the story by showcasing our work in 2013.

ECS infographic




The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is an interstate compact created in 1965 to improve public education by facilitating the exchange of information, ideas and experiences among state policymakers and education leaders. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization involving key leaders from all levels of the education system, ECS creates unique opportunities to build partnerships, share information, and promote the development of policy based on available research and strategies.

Forty-nine states, three territories and the District of Columbia constitute the commission's current membership. Each member state or territory is represented by seven commissioners -- the governor and six other individuals, typically legislators, chief state school officers, state and local school board members, superintendents, higher education officials, and business leaders.

The chairmanship and vice chairmanship of ECS are held by a governor and a state legislator, respectively, alternating between the two major political parties. Each chairman selects a particular issue that serves as a focal point for the organization's work during his or her term.

Various committees and work groups, made up of ECS commissioners, govern investment decisions, oversee the budget and guide the work of ECS. The ECS staff, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, includes educators, policy analysts, communications and technology experts, researchers and support staff. Three operating divisions work together to provide state leaders with the services and products they need to make informed education policy decisions. These divisions are Information Management and ECS Clearinghouse, Policy Studies, and Programs and State Services.

ECS is supported financially by a combination of state fees and contracts, sponsorships, and grants from foundations, corporations and the federal government. Among the funders of current ECS projects and initiatives are: Learn & Serve America (CNCS), AED (NCLCE), International Step by Step, Colorado Service Learning Trail Guide, Tennessee – FIPSE, GE (Progress of Ed Reform), State Farm, KnowledgeWorks (Economic Development), and Lumina (Student Services).

What We Do

News and information:
Policymakers interested in particular education topics generally can find what they need on the ECS website or can get more detailed information from the Clearinghouse. For further access to timely education policy news, ECS has two flagship electronic publications: e-Clips, a daily roundup of the nation's top education news and e-Connection, a weekly bulletin highlighting state policy trends, new reports, upcoming meetings and events, useful websites and ECS news. ECS also publishes Citizenship Matters, which examines efforts to improve citizenship education in our nation's schools.

Policy research and analysis:
ECS keeps policymakers on the leading edge of what's happening in the states by gathering, analyzing and disseminating information about current and emerging issues, trends and innovations in state education policy. Staff directors, policy analysts and researchers work in conjunction with ECS constituents and education policymakers on today's most critical education issues.

State, regional and national policy conferences:
ECS' state, regional and national seminars, workshops and conferences provide policymakers and educators with opportunities to share ideas and learn from one another, as well as experts from across the country. Each year, the National Forum on Education Policy brings together policymakers and practitioners from all levels and all roles in education to discuss and debate the day's hottest education topics.

Customized technical assistance:
ECS tailors its services to individual states' needs, interests and resources to help policymakers make the right decisions for their state. Policy audits, legislative testimony, meetings, research and consultation and advice are geared to particular issues and concerns; they are not "one size fits all."

In addition to operating an extensive website, ECS releases numerous print publications each year. The current list of studies, reports and policymaker guides includes more than 100 titles on topics ranging from accountability to vouchers. ECS also publishes a bimonthly report, The Progress of Education Reform.

Networks and partnerships:
ECS supports and participates in various networks for legislators, legislative aides, governors' education policy aides and others to promote the sharing of information, ideas and resources at the state and national levels. ECS is also working on a number of initiatives in partnership with other organizations, including the American Association of School Administrators, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Just for the Kids.


2012 annual report

Download the 2012 ECS Annual Report.

James Bryant Conant video
View the ECS-produced biographical video of Conant, originator of the idea of an interstate compact on education.
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