State Education Chiefs Testify at Senate Hearing on ESSA

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Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2017) -- Three state education chiefs today testified at the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing, The Every Student Succeeds Act: Unleashing State Innovation.

Tennessee Commissioner Candice McQueen, New Mexico Secretary of Education Christopher Ruszkowski and Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White shared how they plan to use the flexibility in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to provide an equitable education in their states.

"We have embraced the innovation that ESSA offers us in Tennessee - and we have used it as an opportunity to ensure that we are doing more than ever for every child," Commissioner McQueen said in written testimony. "We have an education stakeholder community that is uniquely engaged, informed, and excited about our ESSA plan, and we are moving forward on this important work: providing pathways for all students so they can access real opportunities after high school, improving schools that have consistently underperformed, and supporting a well-rounded, equitable education that can serve the whole child."  

"For New Mexico, as I'm sure is true for my colleagues here, obtaining federal approval was the foundation, but far from the ceiling," Secretary Ruszkowski said in written testimony. "Our goal must be to raise the bar and catalyze improved outcomes for kids, not to engage in compliance exercises. And these independent organizations are asking the right question: Will this plan significantly improve outcomes for children?"

"The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has provided our state a chance to take stock of our greatest challenges and to draw on evidence from across the nation and around the world indicating how they might be solved," Superintendent White said in written testimony. "The children of Louisiana are as smart and as capable as any in America. They have been given gifts no lesser than those given to any child on this earth. And they deserve a plan that calls on us to provide all of them an education that is excellent by any standard in the world. This is the fundamental premise of Louisiana's ESSA plan."  

Please click here for the written testimony from McQueenRuszkowski and White.  


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, 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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