CCSSO Releases Statement on Commitment to Fight Racism

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Washington, D.C. (June 2, 2020) ––The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Executive Team released the following statement today:

As the executive team of the Council of Chief State School Officers, we stand together to condemn the systemic and institutionalized racism that plagues the Black community. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd add to the unconscionable list of Black Americans who have senselessly been robbed of their lives, leaving us situated in a time of profound heartbreak and unrest prompted by the enduring racial injustice in our nation. This moment underscores the moral imperative of our work and, tragically, shows how much work is still ahead within our organization, across the education system, and throughout every other sector of our society. While we are all experiencing this moment together, we acknowledge the anger, pain, and trauma are not shared equally but disproportionately impact Black people.

As leaders in education, it is our responsibility to take a long hard look at the systems that continue to oppress vulnerable communities and to take action. As an organization, we have committed to leading with equity. We have committed to work every day to ensure all students have access to equitable education opportunities. We have worked to facilitate difficult conversations and advocate for policy changes at national and state levels. While we began our equity journey four years ago, we still have a long way to go.  

We are a diverse executive team – in race, gender and perspective. We reaffirm our commitment to lead with equity and show up for students, particularly students of color. Together, we will endeavor to have a tough, open and honest dialogue that will elevate the voices of our most vulnerable community members. We will not turn away from the searing racial inequality of which we are all witness. We will take ownership and responsibility for providing a positive, anti-racist, and inclusive learning environment. We cannot expect each and every Black, Latinx, Native and Indigenous, and marginalized Asian child to thrive academically and reach their full potential if they are not being nurtured and supported in the most fundamental ways and that includes personal safety, and social, emotional, and mental well-being.

We ask you to stand with us by affirming our commitment to listen, learn, and take action that will ensure racism does not continue to permeate the education system and every other institution that governs this country, impacting the present and future of Black children and communities of color. If we are ever to realize change, we must work hand in hand to support every child in reaching their goals without bias, harm, or racism.

In Solidarity,

Carissa Moffat Miller, Executive Director

Stephen Bowen, Deputy Executive Director, State Leadership

Bruce Buterbaugh, Chief Financial Officer

Simintha Esson, Chief Development Officer

Annie Holmes, Chief Equity Officer

Melissa McGrath, Chief of Staff

Scott Norton, Deputy Executive Director, Programs


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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