A History of Leadership
in Education

  • Janua
      1, 1985

    January 1, 1985 - A leader in U.S. Education is Founded

    Soon after its founding, NCEE begins what would become a defining combination of efforts—producing landmark reports and ensuring that the policies advocated for would have real-world impacts to match.

  • 1985

    1985 - NCEE

    NCEE launches as the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy tasked with focusing on the changes in the global economy and its implications for education. In 1988, the organization is formally established as the National Center on Education and the Economy.

  • 1986

    1986 - A Nation Prepared


    The Forum publishes A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century, demanding higher standards for both students and teachers.

  • 1987

    1987 - National Board

    A Nation Prepared leads to the creation of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, with NCEE’s Marc Tucker as its first president.

  • 1989

    1989 - 1989

    NCEE forms The National Alliance for Restructuring Education, a coalition of urban districts redesigning their education systems for higher performance, a forerunner of school re-design, further implementing the recommendations of A Nation Prepared.

  • 1989

    1989 - 1989-2

    NCEE launches the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, studying how leading nations were responding to the challenges of the global economy by changing their education and training programs.

  • Janua
      3, 1989

    January 3, 1989 - Leading International Benchmarking, Workforce Development, and Higher Standards

    NCEE establishes itself as a leader in international benchmarking, workforce development, and the standards movement. Almost the entire agenda advanced its America’s Choice Report would go on to be enacted into legislation, including the School-to-Work Act, the National Skill Standards Board, and the Workforce Investment Act.

  • 1990

    1990 - 1990

    The Commission releases America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages!, and NCEE creates its Workforce Development Program, tasked with seeking the policy changes needed to implement the recommendations made in the America’s Choice report.

  • 1991

    1991 - 1991

    The America’s Choice Report also led NCEE to create New Standards, a collaborative that created an eponymous set of performance standards that has long been seen as some of the best and most influential work in U.S. standards and assessments, a precursor to the Common Core State Standards.

  • Janua
      1, 1992

    January 1, 1992 - Leading School Design and School Leadership

    NCEE establishes what would become the leading school design and the leading school leadership program in the country.

  • 1998

    1998 - 1998

    NCEE relaunches NARE as the America’s Choice School Design, that would go on to be one of the most successful school designs ever studied.

  • 1999

    1999 - 1999

    The Carnegie Corporation again asks NCEE to create a new kind of organization, this time to support the development of school leaders—The National Institute for School Leaders (NISL)— which would become the most widely used and impactful school leadership program in the country.

  • 2005

    2005 - 2005

    NCEE creates the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce to produce Tough Choices or Tough Times, a comprehensive education reform agenda.

  • 2010

    2010 - 2010


    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asks the OECD to produce a report on what could be learned from top performing systems, and which they asked NCEE to develop. The partnership with OECD continues to this day.

  • 2011

    2011 - 2011

    NCEE establishes the Center on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB), formalizing its position as one of the leading researchers of international education and system design.

    NCEE also launches Excellence for All, which piloted strategies outlined in Tough Choices to use clearly defined gateways for students to create strong incentives for students and educators.

  • Janua
      2, 2011

    January 2, 2011 - Leading Supports for State and District Design of High-Performing Systems

    NCEE supports state and district leaders in creating internationally-benchmarked, high-performing systems in the United States.

  • 2011

    2011 - 2011

    The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) asks NCEE to support a bipartisan study group of state legislators investigating top-performing education jurisdictions around the world, producing the report No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State.

  • 2016

    2016 - 2016

    The Maryland legislature establishes the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, known as the Kirwan Commission, which NCEE would support in creating to make policy recommendations that would lead to legislation aimed at enabling Maryland’s students to perform at the level of students in the best-performing systems in the world.

  • 2020

    2020 - 2020


    NCEE launches the Superintendents Alliance, which would become the fastest-growing professional learning network of U.S. district superintendents.

  • 2021

    2021 - 2021

    NCEE continues to study and support leaders in implementing the highest-performing systems in the world.