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Press Release

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

CCSSO Outlines Successful Actions to Prepare All Educators to Help Students with Disabilities Succeed

CCSSO and CEEDAR Center Document Is First of its Kind
Contact:Olympia Meolaolympia.meola@ccsso.org202-336-7071

Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2015) -- The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released Promises to Keep, a series of key steps every state can take to prepare new educators to help students with disabilities and other struggling learners meet rigorous college- and career-ready standards.

"Our public schools proudly serve every child, and it is essential that schools continually seek the most effective ways to reach their most diverse learners," said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. "State education chiefs want effective teachers in the classroom on Day One. Promises to Keep builds on CCSSO's work dedicated to elevating teacher preparation to focus more specifically on teachers and principals working with diverse learners, particularly students with disabilities."

State education chiefs have taken the lead to transform educator preparation across the country. In 2012, CCSSO published Our Responsibility: Our Promise, recommendations for transforming teacher and leader preparation and licensure at a state level. Promises to Keep builds on this work to make sure effective teachers and leaders have the preparation they need to help all students succeed, including students with disabilities.

Promises to Keep is the first document of its kind, in which leading educators help to outline clear policy actions state agencies can take to ensure that their preparation programs are more effective for teachers and principals educating students with disabilities. CCSSO and the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center (CEEDAR) convened an advisory group of teachers, state education agency leaders, higher education faculty and advocacy groups to inform these recommendations.

Most importantly, Promises to Keep focuses on all educators in all public schools, as we know all teachers and principals will serve students with disabilities.

"If we are to realize inclusion, equity, and opportunity for all students, we must prepare educators to effectively support struggling learners, including students with disabilities, to become college and career ready," said Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Education Department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Michael Yudin.

"It is vital that states consider the importance of these recommendations to address policy in licensure, preparation program review and approval, and in building quality data systems to prepare our future workforce in meeting the diverse needs of all our learners," he said.

"We are engaged as a country in the big question of how to improve the effectiveness of educators in our schools to prepare children for career and college readiness," said David Chard, co-chair of the CEEDAR Policy Framing Working Group, which informed these recommendations, and dean at Southern Methodist University. 

"This policy guidance document strategically focuses this question further on the students who rely the most on the effectiveness of their teachers, those students with disabilities," Chard continued. "The recommendations in this document were thoughtfully developed to remind states and large districts that as they undertake the transformation of their teacher preparation policies and practices they need to ensure that the diverse and significant needs of students with disabilities are at the forefront of their decisions."

Christopher A. Koch, co-chair of the CEEDAR Policy Framing Working Group and interim president at the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), said "CAEP's vision and intention is that graduates from accredited providers are ready to teach every child on day one. All children deserve a quality teacher prepared to support them where they are, and every new teacher deserves that the level of preparedness needed to do the job."

"Not only does Promises to Keep get to the heart of what is needed for the diverse learners in our schools, it provides clear and strong recommendations that preparation providers gather, use, and make improvements based on evidence from multiple measures. CAEP supports CCSSO & CEEDAR for this important work that will help guide chief state school officers, and the teaching profession, to fulfill the promise of the CAEP Standards."

For more information, read Promises to Keep: Transforming Educator Preparation to Better Serve a Diverse Range of Learners.

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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.