State Education Chief Testifies at House Hearing on School Reopening

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Washington, D.C. (July 23, 2020) – Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn testified today at a House Education and Labor subcommittee hearing, “Underfunded & Unprepared: Examining How to Overcome Obstacles to Safely Reopen Public Schools.”

Schwinn, in prepared testimony, discussed common concerns voiced by Tennessee parents, actions the state has taken to support schools in reopening in a variety of scenarios, and the considerations that must be top of mind as districts make decisions about how to reopen.  

“I recognize the challenges that are ahead of us and the complicated fabric that makes up our public school systems. Our responsibility as public officials is to mitigate as many of those risks and consequences as possible, so that no matter where or by what method parents choose to educate their children, they can feel confident that we are collectively committed to serving their children’s academic and nonacademic needs,” Schwinn said. “I have been amazed by the way the Volunteer State has come together to show our commitment to children and their safety and wellbeing amidst these challenging times.”  

Read Schwinn’s prepared testimony online.


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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