Center on Policy Solutions

Where We’ve Worked

National Conference of State Legislatures

NCEE has partnered with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for over six years to provide advice and insights on the design of high-performing education systems to state legislators around the country.

From 2014-2018, we organized the work of a study group of state legislators from across the country investigating top-performing education systems around the world. Over two years, NCEE supported the study group in their work to understand the successful practices of the world’s top-performers in order to develop a new, state-driven education agenda. The end result of that initial work was the landmark report, No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State. The report provides state policy makers with the tools and strategies to begin the work of building a high-performing education system in their own state. No Time to Lose, currently in its fifth printing, has become the most widely-read report NCSL has ever released, and NCEE and NCSL continue to speak widely at state legislatures about the findings.

Because of the widespread interest in No Time to Lose among legislators, NCEE, NCSL and SREB are convening a second cohort of the study group to study the common components underpinning the design of high-performing education systems.

MD Research Meeting


NCEE served as the lead policy consultant for the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (popularly known as the “Kirwan Commission,” after its Chair, Brit Kirwan), to assess the adequacy of their current funding formula, help design a new funding formula, and make recommendations for how to restructure Maryland’s education system to ensure that the new funding is spent effectively, efficiently and with equity and that Maryland performs as well as the best education systems in the world. NCEE did a “gap analysis,” comparing the Maryland system to high-performing education systems internationally and domestically and made recommendations about how to improve the Maryland system, which were incorporated into the Commission’s report.

In 2019, Maryland’s legislature awarded an initial $850 million as a down payment to start this work in the first two years, and in 2020 the Maryland legislature passed “The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future”, which is a ten-year plan to implement the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations. NCEE continues to advise on the implementation of the plan, including providing strategic advice, drafting policy, and providing communications support.