About the Project

SIFEPP is creating a continually growing public resource of archival and published materials that tell the story about how states have shaped and continue to shape federal education policy since the mid-twentieth century. Please use the links below to learn more about SIFEPP.

Purpose and History

The States' Impact on Federal Education Policy Project (SIFEPP) is designed to create a comprehensive and accessible historical record. The project, which began in New York, has stimulated similar projects across the nation by developing pilots for ongoing documentation and providing support for 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 education policy advisors and leading archivists from across the country.


During the past half-century, federal education policy has profoundly impacted  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 did not 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), changed all that. After proposing SIFEPP to the New York State Archives, he delivered more than 100 cubic feet of valuable records and the promise of generous multi-year funding from The New York Community Trust–Wallace Foundation Special Projects Fund. Since the State Archives had already been supporting documentation in New York (through its Documentary Heritage Program and statewide documentation planning), officials enthusiastically embraced the project. Work began in September 2003.

Outcomes and Products

The project was designed to produce several key outcomes and products:

  • A growing, accessible historical record: SIFEPP aims for a dramatic increase - across the United States - in the volume of records available on the topic.
  • Online access to records in multiple repositories: Through this website, researchers can search the holdings of multiple repositories and view selected digitized records.
  • Oral histories. These include recordings and transcripts of dialogues with key figures in education policy. Special thanks to Oral Historian, Anita Hecht, Life History Services for conducting and producing the SIFEPP oral history archive. 
  • Publications and resource guides: Background materials, resource guides, and detailed finding aids help researchers find the information they need.
  • Widespread use of the records: The New York State Archives promotes the use of the collections for research, dialogue, and education policy development.