The Education Commission of the States Day at the Arizona State Capitol

Author: Helios Education Foundation

June 12, 2019

The Governor’s Office of Education, in partnership with Achieve60AZ and Helios Education Foundation, recently hosted the Education Commission of the States Day at the Arizona State Capitol.  It was an opportunity for policymakers and community leaders to discuss key issues related to postsecondary attainment and K-3 literacy.   

Education Commission of the States assists governors, state legislators, state education officials, and others to identify, develop and implement public policy for education that address issues by sharing resources and expertise. They bring education leaders together from across the aisle and across states, to provide opportunities to interact, learn, and collaborate.  In addition, they serve as a trusted source for comprehensive knowledge and resources on hundreds of education policy issues.   

“Education Commission of the States has brought great value to our state by helping to provide a national perspective on education policy and creating opportunities for us to collaborate with other states on some of Arizona’s most pressing education issues,” said Janice Palmer, Vice President & Director of Policy at Helios Education Foundation.  

 Education of the States Day at the Capitol focused on two key issues – Arizona’s attainment goal and K-3 literacy.   During the attainment goal discussions, Education Commission of the States shared the results of a Strada / Gallup poll of more than 300,000 adults with responses on their attitudes and perceptions toward their levels of attainment and the cost incurred . Regent Larry Penley from the Arizona Board of Regents summarized the discussion by saying, “If we meet 60 percent (attainment), we’ll have a vibrant economy, a prosperous community, and we’ll have a median income higher than the national average, as opposed to below, where we are currently.”  

The K-3 literacy discussions, focused on 3rd grade reading retention policies and best practices from other states.  

“Two years ago, ECS selected Arizona as one of five states to focus on a K-3 literacy strategic plan. The Governor’s Office of Education and Helios Education Foundation led, in partnership with numerous organizations where with us today, the K-3 Quality Initiative that prioritized various items of focus moving forward. Many of the recommendations were incorporated into the State Board of Education K-3 Literacy Ad Hoc work,” said Palmer, . “This convening was to further flesh out those next steps.”  

In addition, two expert panel discussions followed on the importance of Arizona supporting professional development for early childhood education professionals so they can become credentialed while still maintaining the employment many have had for decades and integrating social emotional learning (SEL) into reading practice.   

The partnerships and collaborations created through the work with Education Commission of the States is helping to move key education initiatives forward in Arizona and will ultimately help ensure our state is on a path toward educational excellence.    

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