More than 600 governors, teachers, legislators, reform experts, chief state school officers, principals and others gathered for the 1997 Education Commission of the States (ECS) National Forum and Annual Meeting held July 9-12 at the Westin Hotel in Providence, R.I.

ECS -- a national nonprofit organization that helps governors, legislators, state education officials and others develop and carry out policies promoting improved student learning -- presented several special sessions during the meeting. Topics included technology applications for teacher education; professional development and the classroom (featuring some of the newest technology tools on the market); connecting learning and work; and improving higher education to better meet students' needs. An ECS report entitled "Investing in Student Achievement" was also released during the meeting.

Georgia Gov. Zell Miller, who has served as chairman of ECS for the last year, passed his gavel to Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad during

a luncheon ceremony. Branstad said he plans to incorporate more technology into ECS policies in the coming year. "ECS will give me an opportunity to work nationally on an issue we have been working on locally for quite some time: using technology and the information superhighway to prepare our students to compete in the global economy of the 21st century," said Branstad. "Technology can help us strengthen our schools and the working environment of teachers."

Branstad's strategy includes establishing a working group committed to shaping national discourse about how technology can improve teaching and learning.

.The 1996 ECS Annual Meeting included governors, legislators and educators from agencies and organizations, nationwide.

Pamela Johnson, Iowa Public Television

Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad was named the 1997-98 ECS Chairman, succeeding Georgia Gov. Zell Miller

Dan Morris,

ECS/NEA, Colorado

Gov. Terry E. Branstad. Iowa recently undertook a $150 million School Improvement and Technology Program.

Ardyce Bohlke,

chairman, Nebraska Senate Education Committee.

Howard Mehlinger, director, Center for Excellence in Education, Indiana

Jodie Butler,

Iowa Office of the Governor

Ted Stillwill, Iowa Dept. of Education

September Table of Contents