State chief state school officers renewed their commitment to the importance of early learning in Equity Starts Early. This policy statement outlines the actions states can take to increase access to high-quality early learning programs for all children.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has been a CEELO partner since the Center began, helping to staff CEELO strategic projects and engaging with Center collaborators on the three Council projects highlighted below.
By prioritizing early learning, chiefs create opportunities to promote high-quality prekindergarten to impact early learning outcomes by third grade. Newly developed quality benchmarks from the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER), supported by latest research, suggest improved effects on mitigating the achievement gap by third grade. Through the launch of the Chiefs Promoting High-Quality Prekindergarten Network, the Council plans to support chiefs and their lead staff to promote the consistent implementation of high-quality prekindergarten at a time when many states are expanding access to prekindergarten programs.
The following states/territories have joined the network: Colorado, Delaware, DoDEA, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
A growing body of research shows that high-quality care and education in the earliest years of life has a positive effect on children. In addition, there is growing understanding of the need for a knowledgeable and skilled workforce to provide quality early childhood education that makes a difference in children’s lives. State education chiefs and governors and are the key decision-makers in strengthening or transforming policies and practice to support the ECE workforce and can support necessary changes in states’ infrastructure to support these efforts. In partnership with the National Governors Association, CCSSO has launched a network of 10 states that will receive support to develop and carry out action plans focused on one or more specific state policy priorities related to improving their ECE workforce. CCSSO will provide technical assistance and grants to four states that have Birth-Grade-12 governance. These include: California, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
The ECE SCASS is dedicated to supporting the work of state education agencies on issues of standards, instruction, assessment, data systems, and program design and accountability for children from birth to grade 3.