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Nathan Driskell


by Nathan Driskell

America is falling far behind its global competitors in education, with dire consequences for our economic prosperity, civic and political engagement and the health and wellbeing of our children. That was the urgent message NCEE president and CEO Anthony Mackay delivered to more than 200 legislators, legislative staff and advocates when he presented at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) 2019 Legislative Summit this month in Nashville, Tennessee. As Mackay noted, it is critical for U.S. states to make systemic changes to their education and workforce development systems so that our young people can prosper. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence and related technologies only accelerate this imperative. 

Anthony Mackay @ 2019 NCSL Conference

Luckily, several U.S. states have undertaken important work to transform their education systems and face this challenge head-on. Following his remarks, Mackay moderated a discussion with representatives from three states: Rep. Bob Behning (Indiana); Del. Maggie L. McIntosh (Maryland); Sen. Mimi Stewart (New Mexico); and Rachel Hise (lead principal analyst, Maryland Department of Legislative Services). Each state has approached this work differently, but all were inspired by the report No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System from NCSL, produced with technical support from NCEE. This report has made waves in states around the country as the most-read report ever produced by NCSL. It found that “most state education systems are falling dangerously behind the world,” and set out principles by which states could redesign their education systems to compete with top-performing jurisdictions. 

In line with the findings of No Time to Lose on the practices of top-performing education systems around the world, Indiana, Maryland and New Mexico have all focused on leveraging new funding to create new teacher preparation standards, make new investments in early childhood education and care, tie career and technical education programs more closely to the needs of the future workforce and improve teacher pay and working conditions so they are treated more like the professionals they are. 

Learn more about the challenges the U.S. faces in competing with the world’s best and the leading work of states meeting that challenge by watching Mackay’s panel at NCSL’s Summit and reading the No Time to Lose report.