“How and by whom are education policy decisions made in my state?” The answer to that question varies tremendously, depending on both state and education level. The answer also carries important implications for how policy is proposed and implemented and how programs are administered. Our suite of resources on governance structures in early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary education aim to (1) make sense of the various state models that influence the policymaking process and (2) assist state leaders as they work within the governance systems to achieve their education goals.


50-State Comparisons

See how all states approach governance of education policy, and whether they have any task forces or commissions exploring specific education topics.


Policy Reports

Relevant context and state policy examples on governance issues.

Blog Posts

Legislative trends and other news with implications for governance.

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With the dust settling on the 2022 election season, Education Commission of the States is here to analyze the state results. Races for governor, chief state school officers, state boards of education and legislative control, as well as several education-related ballot initiatives are set to shape the landscape of state education policy in the coming months and beyond.

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On Nov. 8, Americans in 36 states cast their ballots to elect their state governor. In eight of these races, no incumbent was on the ballot because of term limits, which guaranteed a change in leadership in each governor’s mansion. In eight or nine states, there will be a new governor elected.

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Decisions about postsecondary education priorities, policies and practices are largely driven by how states divvy up authority and responsibilities through their governance systems.

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Research increasingly shows that the first five years of life are a critical period for child development. States have responded by ramping up the availability of services supporting early childhood development.

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State education governance can be complex and a bit of a mystery to even the most experienced policy wonks. While education policy discussions usually focus on policy improvements, innovative practices and student-centered initiatives, the question that is rarely asked is, “How is policy in my state created?”

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State Information Requests

Brief issue scans, typically provided within 48 hours, that provide top-level information on governance.

Term Limits for State Board Members
Postsecondary Institutional Missions
State CTE Offices
Training for Postsecondary Governance Boards
Virtual Schools Governance

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View all available governance resources:

Explore our State Education Policy Tracking resource:

Browse pending legislation on our State Education Policy Watchlist: