The NCSL Blog


By Dan Thatcher

Each year, NCSL’s Executive Committee meets to identify and discuss what priorities will dominate legislative chambers across the nation for the coming year. At the top of the list for 2019? Education funding reform.

By our count over half of state legislatures may address fundamental education funding changes during 2019 and 2020 sessions, task forces or interim committees. This amount of interest in the issue is unprecedented in recent memory.

It should come as no surprise then that education funding will get due attention at NCSL’s 2019 Legislative Summit, Tuesday at 10:15 am, during a session titled “Education Funding: A Generational Challenge.”

Session attendees will hear from education policy extraordinaire Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of Learning Policy Institute, and education funding philanthropist Jeff Raikes, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, on the lessons learned from previous state education finance reforms.

Joining them will be two members of NCSL’s Education Finance Fellowship: Representative Wendy Horman, Idaho and Senator Jeff Bridges, Colorado. Both legislators currently serve on legislative committees tasked with exploring changes to education funding.

The “generational challenge” moniker is no hyperbole. States change their education funding systems, on average, every 20 years or longer. Changes states make today may likely stick around until 2040, making it critical states get these policies right.

On Tuesday, we will hear about what went well in past reforms and from state lawmakers working to ensure our tax dollars support vibrant student learning for the next generation. For those unable to attend, please contact Dan Thatcher at for information and resources.

Dan Thatcher is a program director in NCSL's Education program.

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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.