CCSSO Names Series of Actions States Can Take to Modernize Education System

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Washington, D.C. (August 3, 2023) – The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released recommended actions state education agencies can take to modernize K-12 education systems to center student learning. 

Today’s release of Imagining More: How State Education Agencies Can Modernize the K-12 Education System to Put Student Learning at the Center follows a national Summit convened by CCSSO in April 2023 to elevate the urgency and momentum for pursuing innovative, student-centered education models. 

At the event, state education chiefs and national education leaders discussed education modernization efforts at work across the country and how best to expand the work, including having honest engagement with stakeholders – particularly parents, families and teachers; creating out-of-the-box, student-centered approaches; and prioritizing the alignment of resources, time and people to support innovation work. 

The Imagining More report offers four systemic actions states can take: 

  • Articulate a clear student-centered learning vision and theory of change to achieve it. 

  • Set conditions for redefining schools. 

  • Cultivate state and district capacity to support locally-driven change. 

  • Accelerate and support scaling of new education models. 

It also provides specific steps state chiefs can take to advance each of the four larger steps, along with examples of how this work has been undertaken in states across the country. 

“We must ensure our K-12 education system works for all students,” said CCSSO Chief Executive Officer Carissa Moffat Miller. “State chiefs are committed to modernizing systems, particularly to ensure we leverage lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic can instead foster improvements. This work will vary from state to state, but this report is designed to serve as a valuable resource to state leaders and others in the education system as they think through what change is necessary at a systems level to serve their students.”  

“The true power of education transformation lies in partnership and collective imagination,” said Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction and President of the CCSSO Board of Directors. “In North Dakota, we collaborated with educators and stakeholders, both within and outside of state government, striving to maximize every child’s potential. State leaders across the country are exploring new models and advocating for ways to better serve every student. This report will be an important tool in supporting that work and inspiring new ideas. The time for action is now. Redefining the opportunities and possibilities in education must be our nation’s priority.”  

Moving forward, CCSSO will work to support state leaders to enact changes such as use of time, creative personnel models, funding structures and other levers specific to the state context as they seek to move this work forward.  

See here for more information on this work, including the report and video from the Summit.  


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public. 

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