The Washington State Institute for Public Policy was created by the Washington Legislature in 1983 and has fiscal and administrative services provided by The Evergreen State College. The Institute’s mission is to carry out practical, non-partisan research on problems facing the state, at the direction of the Legislature, conducting research using its own policy analysts and economists, specialists from universities, and consultants. The staff works closely with legislators, legislative and state agency staff and experts in the field to ensure that studies answer relevant policy questions tied to state policy needs.
In 1989, the Oregon Legislature created an independent state planning and oversight agency, the Oregon Progress Board. The board is chaired by the governor and made up of citizen leaders that reflect the social, ethnic and political diversity of the state. The board monitors the state’s long-term strategic vision, Oregon Shines, by tracking the progress measures known as Oregon Benchmarks. The benchmarks are organized into seven categories: economy, education, civic engagement, social support, public safety, community development, and environment. The benchmarks are used for a broad array of policymaking and budget-related activities, and Oregon state agencies are required to link their key performance measures to them. Student achievement benchmarks are the cornerstone of Oregon’s educational reform initiatives. State-local planning processes, like Oregon’s innovative Partners for Children and Families program, as well as county governments and community organizations, use benchmarks to focus collaborative efforts and to help gauge their progress.