The NCSL Blog


By Michelle Exstrom

NCSL is partnering with other policymaker organizations to highlight innovative policies and best practices to improve the nation’s schools. 

girl studying beneath treeThe campaign is supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers, Education Commission of the States, the National Association of State Boards of Education in addition to NCSL.

As states finalize their plans under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, the States Leading Campaign will showcase the bold work underway through these plans and beyond to best meet the needs of all students. 

For example, nearly every state included a strategy to increase students’ career readiness in their ESSA plans. Thirty-five states will hold high schools accountable for some type of career-focused measure, and another eight states aim to incorporate such measures in the future. In addition, all states mentioned early learning or school readiness in their state plans.

“Education is one of the most important issues state legislators are tackling. Improving student outcomes and how best to prepare all students for college and career are at the forefront of every conversation," said NCSL Executive Director William Pound. "Strong states rely on strong economies, and education is the key to building a well-prepared workforce.”

Beyond ESSA, states are working together to advance shared priorities, including education equity, early childhood education, and teacher preparation, among others.

Through social media, weekly email updates and events, the States Leading Campaign will feature innovative state policies and stories of the progress states are making on behalf of their students.

Get more information and sign up for the States Leading newsletter. Follow along and join the conversation at #StatesLeading on social media.

Michelle Exstrom is a group director in NCSL's education program.

Email Michelle.


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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.