The mission of The State of the USA is to help all Americans assess the nation's progress for themselves, at all levels, with the best quality measures and data on the most important issues facing the country.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan State of the USA is preparing - in concert with the National Academy of Sciences - to support a Key National Indicator System by publishing a free website to provide every American with a single place to track progress across a range of national concerns, as determined by independent polling and research as well as expert and public input.
To do this, a scientifically credible, open, transparent, participatory process is being designed to frame issues using relevant national indicators, or measures, and reliable supporting data sources. The upcoming website is being designed to be easy to use and to provide tools that will enable Americans to discover, understand and share information across the Web through syndicated publishing and social networking.
In so doing, a Key National Indicator System (KNIS) will seek to unite nonprofits, the media, government decision makers, business leaders, scientists, educators and citizens around a single goal: To deepen and broaden our factual knowledge and understanding of the country's most pressing issues.
Editorial processes will balance what experts think the American people should know with what the public wants to know. They will rely on scientific expertise and quality assurance from the National Academy of Sciences, the statistical community, the scientific community and individual, nationally recognized subject-matter experts. They will also rely on state-of-the-art civic engagement and public participation techniques. A Key National Indicator System will assemble the highest quality quantitative measures and related data, and will be presented on the Web in a simple and straightforward way so that interested people can assess whether progress is being made, where it is being made, by whom and compared to what.
National and world events make the need for unbiased factual information more urgent, but such a resource will take time to build, and it requires a partnership of the private and public sectors to be successful. With recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, The State of the USA (SUSA) began its work by focusing on key national health measures, data sets and contextual content that can be used to assess the nation's health and health systems. Working with the leadership of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the model used with health will be replicated and adjusted for more than a dozen topic areas, including education, the economy, innovation, energy, the environment, crime and justice, families, youth and children, safety and security, housing, governance, aging, infrastructure, and arts and culture.
A Key National Indicator System will seek to address relevant issues, but not set goals. It will assemble information, not collect it. It will display and explain data, but avoid interpreting the information. And it will concentrate on presenting quantitative information, with enough qualitative explanation and context that will make the data easy to use and understand.
To do this SUSA plans to employ a collaborative approach that crosses sectors and issue areas. Its leadership includes recognized thought leaders and experts that represent a wide array of talents -- including executive leadership, digital expertise, scientific analysis, statistical review, editorial content development, communications strategies and marketing approaches. SUSA's skill base crosses a variety of sectors -- education, business, media, government and the nonprofit community. The organization is designed to capture the geographic and demographic diversity and the breadth of professional expertise and political philosophies required to create and lead a national institution.
The State of the USA seeks to reaffirm the principle behind the centuries-old tradition of the State of the Union address, but complement it with a steady dose of 21st century information-age reality on the state of the American dream.
And we invite you to participate in this process.
The State of the USA seeks your input as we work with the National Academy of Sciences to prepare for the creation of a Key National Indicator System. We want to hear about the issues that matter to you most as well as features and functions that you would find useful. This is a vital step and a crucial time in our shared journey toward true accountability for a more results-oriented society.