The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.

The Education Commission of the States
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant will assume the role in July of 2017. Credit: Imani Khayyam

The Education Commission of the States, a Colorado-based education policy research center, has named Gov. Phil Bryant as chair-elect. Bryant will replace outgoing chairman Gov. Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana.

Since 1965, state governors have served as chair of the ECS, which attempts a bipartisan approach to education policy research and consulting. This is the first time that the governor of Mississippi has served as chair. ECS says that the political parties of the chair and vice chair alternate every two years. Bryant announced the news on Facebook.

“I’m happy to announce I’ve been named Chair-Elect of Education Commission of the States,” Bryant wrote in a Dec. 5 Facebook post. “This is a credit to the progress that Mississippi has seen in recent years with our education system. ECS helps lead effective education policy across America, and I look forward to working with education leaders across the country beginning July 2017.”

Related: Why you should care about what’s happening to Mississippi’s schoolchildren

The ECS has already sung Mississippi’s educational praises this year, awarding the state its Frank Newman Award for State Innovation this past May. Though Phil Bryant cited “school choice” as the impetus behind the state receiving the award, Jeremy Anderson, president of ECS, told the Jackson Free Press that Mississippi received the award due to the state’s increasing level of performance on the National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP, and its Literacy-Based Promotion Act.

Phil Bryant has served as governor of Mississippi since 2008. The state has seen some education success, such as improved graduation and dropout rates since 2011, and has made strides in third grade reading; however, Mississippi is often nationally ranked as one of the lowest-performing states in education. Recent accountability ratings show that every currently failing school district in the state is one that serves a majority of black students.

Sierra Mannie is an education reporting fellow with the Jackson Free Press and The Hechinger Report. Email

The Hechinger Report provides in-depth, fact-based, unbiased reporting on education that is free to all readers. But that doesn't mean it's free to produce. Our work keeps educators and the public informed about pressing issues at schools and on campuses throughout the country. We tell the whole story, even when the details are inconvenient. Help us keep doing that.

Join us today.

Letters to the Editor

At The Hechinger Report, we publish thoughtful letters from readers that contribute to the ongoing discussion about the education topics we cover. Please read our guidelines for more information. We will not consider letters that do not contain a full name and valid email address. You may submit news tips or ideas here without a full name, but not letters.

By submitting your name, you grant us permission to publish it with your letter. We will never publish your email address. You must fill out all fields to submit a letter.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *