On Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman appointed Senator Jason Smalley to serve as a member of the Education Commission of the States (ECS). The nonpartisan organization that works with policymakers, researchers and practitioners at all levels of education, from pre-K to postsecondary, tracking state policy trends, translating academic research, providing unbiased advice and creating opportunities for state leaders to learn from one another.
“It’s an honor to be appointed to this commission that deals with the most important responsibility we have as state and federal legislators and that’s educating our youth,” said Smalley, R-Stroud. “Oklahoma’s educational system is in disarray right now so it’s imperative that we reach out to experts in the field as well as our colleagues in other states to learn what’s working in their schools. We have no time to waste. We must ensure that Oklahoma’s youth are getting the best possible education whether it be in kindergarten, high school, college or career tech.”
ECS is the only state-focused national organization to bring together governors, state legislators, K-12 and higher education department chiefs and other education leaders. Each state or territory is represented by seven Commissioners who are selected through a process specified in their statutes. Commissioners serve on various committees, which guide ECS’s policy directions, oversee the budget and investments, and plan their annual meeting.
ECS provides numerous services including:
State Education Policy Tracking – database contains more than 36,000 education laws from 1994 to present, searchable by state, topic and years.
50-State Databases – compare different state’s laws to other states focusing on issues such as
kindergarten, remedial education and dual enrollment.
Research Summaries – the latest academic research, translated in reader-friendly language and searchable by the questions policymakers are asking.
The organization is currently working on several special projects including:
- Reporting Remediation: understanding how different states calculate college remedial rates.
- The Blueprint Project: analyzing how states are promoting college readiness and success.
- Rating Schools: how are states measuring their schools and holding them accountable.
- Innovations in School Finance: a series of six annual papers that simplify complex issues.
- Early Learning: a variety of research into early childhood education including state funding
levels and other legislative action.