Education Policy: About the Project:

Purpose and History

The States' Impact on Federal Education Policy Project (SIFEPP) is designed to create a comprehensive, accessible, nationwide historical record that documents the impact of states on U.S. education policy since the mid-twentieth century. While the project—an initiative of the New York State Archives—begins with New York State, its objective is to stimulate the creation of similar projects across the nation. The project team will also develop pilot systems for ongoing documentation and provide support for their replication in other states.

At the heart of the project is a documentation planning methodology developed by the New York State Archives in collaboration with nationwide teams of education policy advisors and leading archivists.


During the past half-century, federal education policy has had a profound impact on K-12 education in the United States—and states have been active players in attempts to shape that policy. Even so, an accessible documentary record of states' involvement does not yet exist.

In 2003, Gordon Ambach, former New York State Commissioner of Education (1977-87) and Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO, 1987-2001), set out to change that. In proposing SIFEPP to the New York State Archives, he brought with him more than 100 cubic feet of valuable records and the promise of generous multiyear funding from The New York Community Trust - Wallace Foundation Special Projects Fund. As the State Archives had already been supporting documentation in New York (through its Documentary Heritage Program and statewide documentation planning), it embraced the project enthusiastically. Work began in September 2003.