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Press Release

Monday, March 20, 2017

CCSSO Board President Melody Schopp Outlines Presidential Platform, Delivers State of the States Address

Contact:Olympia Meolaolympia.meola@ccsso.org202-336-7071

Washington, D.C. (March 20, 2017) -- The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Board President and South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp today outlined her presidential platform to elevate and improve teaching.

"This goes to the heart of where I'd like to focus my effort during my time as CCSSO president: on supporting and valuing the teaching profession - and changing negative perceptions that do nothing but hold the talented people working in schools across the country back," Schopp told the nation's state education chiefs gathered in Washington, DC for CCSSO's 2017 Legislative Conference.

"I consider this to be a fundamentally student-focused goal because the plain fact is that, if we want to attract and retain the best teachers, we must collectively elevate the status of teaching in the eyes of the public."

In her address, Schopp underscored work underway in states across the country, including engaging in meaningful and authentic conversations with communities about how to best support all students.

"One area where this kind of collaboration was an absolute necessity, and where you have met that need with creativity and integrity, is around states' work to begin tackling how best to leverage the opportunities that ESSA will present," she said in prepared remarks, referring to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

States are also leading on accountability systems that drive improvement for all kids in all schools, and on offering students access to high-quality programs that provide them with the training they need to compete for high-skill, well-paying jobs, she said.

On equity, state education agencies have a unique opportunity, and responsibility.  

"My fellow chiefs and I are making equity a priority of our work," Schopp said. "The deference ESSA gives states and school chiefs to reassert our authority and influence over education policy gives us a truly unique opportunity for states to make equity a priority and we are seizing that opportunity."  

Read the full speech here.


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.