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Press release

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CCSSO Member Testifies on Importance of Data, Research and Privacy

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

Washington, D.C. (June 28, 2017) - The House Education and the Workforce's Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing Wednesday on Exploring Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research While Protecting Student Privacy. Nathaniel Schwartz, the Chief Research and Strategy Officer for the Tennessee Department of Education and a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers, testified at the hearing.

"We are quite proud in Tennessee about the major improvements we have seen in student achievement in past years - with our state's scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress rising faster over the last five years than any other state - and we ascribe some of this progress to the ways that we anchor our work in a system of continuous research and evidence-driven improvements," Schwartz said.

Schwartz outlined how Tennessee has been successful in leveraging federal funding to support its research and data-driven work. One example of how the state has grounded its work in evidence-based practices is through the creation of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance, a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Education and Vanderbilt University that promotes long-term educational improvements through rigorous research. The state has also used IES continuous improvement grants to grow and strengthen its network of instructional coaches to target specific areas of need, such as early grades literacy, and help those teachers improve their practice.

In addition, Schwartz shared several recommendations for how the federal government can support research and innovation at the state level. Among the recommendations, he suggested providing greater support for internal research teams within state education agencies and encouraging the secure use of educational data for research purposes.

Please click here to read his full testimony.


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.