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Press Release

Thursday, October 13, 2016

CCSSO and the Aspen Institute Release New State Framework for Advancing Equity through ESSA

Contact:Melissa McGrathmelissa.mcgrath@ccsso.org202-336-7034

Washington, D.C. (October 13, 2016) -- The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program today released a new framework to help all states as they work to advance equity in education through the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders identifies eight equity priorities and illustrates how states could leverage the new federal law to improve equity in opportunities and outcomes for all kids.

"State chiefs have always led to advance equity in education for all kids -- regardless of their background. In recent years, states have raised academic standards, created better assessments and worked to transform the way we prepare teachers. However, more needs to be done to fulfill a promise for every child to receive a high-quality education. Today, the Every Student Succeeds Act provides a great opportunity for states to look at their current systems comprehensively and find the best ways to meet the needs of every student," said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO.

He continued, "We are proud to partner with the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program to create this new framework and assist state leaders in these critical conversations around equity and ESSA."

Rather than considering each funding stream and planning requirement in ESSA as a discrete issue to address, Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders encourages states to think holistically about their state strategic vision and the components of the new law to advance a comprehensive strategy for creating educational equity.

"To make ESSA work for them and not the other way around, we recommend state leaders choose one or two strategic equity priorities and use provisions in the law to focus attention and provide resources to  make progress in these areas," said Ross Wiener, executive director of the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program. "By including substantial excerpts from the law, this framework empowers state leaders to be confident and creative in using this new law to advance equity."

Tony Evers, CCSSO Board President and Wisconsin Superintendent said, "Like many states, Wisconsin will use ESSA as a driver toward our broader equity agenda to ensure each and every child is college and career ready.  This framework will help to surface specific opportunities to advance equity as we craft our state plan.  While we recognize that ESSA is only one part of a larger equity agenda, it's an important one, and this framework will become a concrete and actionable tool in that process."

For more information on ESSA, visit


About the Council of Chief State School Officers
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.

About the Aspen Education & Society Program
The Aspen Education & Society Program improves public education by inspiring, informing, and influencing education leaders across policy with practice, with an emphasis on achieving equity for traditionally underserved students. For more information, visit