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Press Release

Thursday, March 24, 2016

CCSSO Releases Strategies for High-Quality Early Education

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

Washington, D.C. (March 24, 2016) -- Chief state school officers understand that a high-quality education in the early years can give students a leg-up for life.

State chiefs are leading efforts to increase investments, expand access, and improve early childhood programs and workforce quality. Building on these efforts, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released Equity Starts Early: How Chiefs Will Build High-Quality Early Education. This report outlines five steps that, coupled with high-quality K-12 education, will contribute to strengthening student outcomes through college and careers:

1. Engage families and communities in early learning,
2. Connect early childhood programs and elementary schools,
3. Accelerate improvement and innovation in early childhood programs,
4. Build a high performing early childhood workforce,
5. Increase investment to provide quality, voluntary early childhood education for all children.

"For the nation to realize a vision of graduating every student ready for college, careers and life, we must provide access to voluntary, high-quality learning opportunities for all kids from the earliest days of their educational career," said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. "State chiefs are committed to raising academic achievement, starting with our youngest learners."

Chiefs are committed to working with the early childhood and public education communities to implement these recommendations. They understand that strengthening early learning opportunities and outcomes is a key element in a renewed effort to promote equal educational opportunity and eliminate achievement gaps and shortfalls.

"Early education through our Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Program (4K) is an essential piece in our efforts to close achievement gaps," said CCSSO Board President and Wisconsin Superintendent Tony Evers. "Kids who have a strong start in 4K will be more likely to graduate ready for college and careers."

"Learning begins long before a child sets foot into a classroom," said Illinois Superintendent Tony Smith. "It's a journey that begins at birth and continues in the home, school, and community.... when families, schools, and communities partner to promote learning and healthy development for all children, schools thrive and student outcomes improve."  

For more information, download the full report.


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.