Education Commission of the States

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The Education Commission of the States (ECS) tracks policy, translates research, provides advice and "creates opportunities for state policymakers to learn from one another"[1]. ECS was founded as a result of the creation of the Compact for Education, an interstate compact approved by Congress and works with all 50 U.S. states, three territories (American Samoa, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands) and the District of Columbia.

The idea of establishing a compact on education and creating an operational arm to follow up on its goals was originally proposed by James Bryant Conant, president of Harvard University. Between 1965 and 1967, John W. Gardner, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and former North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford took up the idea, drafted the proposed Compact, obtained the endorsement of all 50 states and got Congress' approval.

The organization opened its offices in Denver in 1967 and began administering the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test until the Reagan administration in 1982 made the decision to privatize the test, which is now administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). That decision threatened the very existence of the Commission, leading to the virtual closing of ECS's Information Clearinghouse, the laying off or early retirement of half of its 117-member staff and a 50% cut in the organization's budget.

Each member jurisdiction (state, territory, and the District of Columbia) has seven seats on the Commission, including the governor and six appointed members, usually including members of the state legislature and education officials, such as the state education commissioner or head of the state education agency.

Commission chairs[edit]

The commissioner chairman ship is held by the governor of a member jurisdiction. The term changed from one year to two years in 2002. It alternates between political parties.

Term Governor State Focus
Organizing Terry Sanford North Carolina
1965-1966 John H. Chafee Rhode Island
1966-1967 Charles L. Terry, Jr. Delaware
1967-1968 Calvin L. Rampton Utah
1968-1969 Robert E. McNair South Carolina
1969-1970 Tom McCall Oregon
1970-1971 Russell W. Peterson Delaware
1971-1972 Robert W. Scott North Carolina
1972-1973 Winfield Dunn Tennessee
1973-1974 Reubin Askew Florida
1974-1975 John C. West South Carolina
1975-1976 Arch A. Moore, Jr. West Virginia
1976-1977 Jerry Apodaca New Mexico
1977-1978 Otis R. Bowen Indiana
1978-1979 Dixy Lee Ray Washington
1979-1980 William G. Milliken Michigan
1980-1981 Bob Graham Florida
1981-1982 Robert D. Ray Iowa
1982-1983 James B. Hunt Jr. North Carolina
1983-1984 Pierre S. du Pont Delaware
1984-1985 Charles S. Robb Virginia Business and Education Reform
1985-1986 Thomas H. Kean New Jersey Teacher Renaissance: Improving Undergraduate Education
1986-1987 Bill Clinton Arkansas Speaking of Leadership
1987-1988 John Ashcroft Missouri Family Involvement in the Schools
1988-1989 Rudy Perpich Minnesota Partners in Learning: Linking College Mentors with At-Risk Schools
1989-1990 Garrey E. Carruthers New Mexico Sharing Responsibility for Success
1990-1991 Booth Gardner Washington All Kids Can Learn
1991-1992 John R. McKernan, Jr. Maine Keeping the Promises of Reform
1992-1993 Evan Bayh Indiana Education for a Revitalized Democracy
1993-1994 Jim Edgar Illinois Building Communities that Support Education Reform
1994-1995 Roy Romer Colorado Making Quality Count in Undergraduate Education
1995-1996 Tommy Thompson Wisconsin Connecting Learning and Work
1996-1997 Terry Branstad Iowa Harnessing Technology for Teaching and Learning
1997-1998 Zell Miller Georgia Investing in Student Achievement
1998-1999 Paul E. Patton Kentucky Transforming Postsecondary Education
1999-2000 Jim Geringer Wyoming In Pursuit of Quality Teaching
2000-2001 Jeanne Shaheen New Hampshire Early Learning: Improving Results for Young Children
2001-2002 Kenny Guinn Nevada Leading for Literacy
2002-2003 Roy Barnes Georgia Closing the Achievement Gap
2003-2004 Mark Warner Virginia High-Quality Teachers for Hard-to-Staff Schools
2004-2006 Mike Huckabee Arkansas The Arts: A Lifetime of Learning
2006-2008 Kathleen Sebelius Kansas Great Teachers for Tomorrow
2008-2010 Tim Pawlenty Minnesota
2010–2012 John Hickenlooper[2] Colorado
2012-2014 Brian Sandoval Nevada
2015-2017 Steve Bullock Montana

Commission executive directors/presidents[edit]

Tenure Name Title
1967-1976 Wendell H. Pierce Executive director
1976-1980 Warren Hill Executive director
1980-1984 Robert Andringa Executive director
1985-1999 Frank Newman President
2000-2005 Ted Sanders President
2005-2006 Piedad F. Robertson President
2007-2012 Roger Sampson President
2012–present Jeremy Anderson President[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "ECS Officers and President:ECS Officers for 2011-13". ECS Official Website. Education Commission of the States. c. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-02-19. John Hickenlooper, Chair 
  3. ^