As the leaders of state and district education systems, we are racially and politically diverse.
We live and work in regions ranging from the Northeast to the Deep South, from the Midwest, to the West Coast, to the noncontiguous states. Despite our differences, we share a vision for schools that serve all children well and are united around a core set of beliefs about what it will take to achieve that vision in communities across the nation.
Education is a fundamental right in the United States.
There are bright spots, both within our own systems and elsewhere—but on the whole, the country is failing to deliver on its promise to our children. Growing economic inequality and the history of structural discrimination in education, housing, and access to opportunity is making it more and more difficult to achieve the American Dream.
For at least a decade, students have made little progress in math and have lost ground in reading on national assessments. Those from low-income families fare even worse. The nation’s outdated, one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning does not meet children’s diverse needs, and we now lag behind our international peers in preparing students for the global economy. Pathways to careers in high-growth, in-demand fields are few and far between. While the number of jobs requiring some postsecondary education and training has increased dramatically, college completion rates remain low, and millions of Americans are burdened with crushing student loan debt.
The need for change is more urgent than ever. Yet increased polarization, political gridlock, entrenched interests, and onerous bureaucracy have kept our country from expanding opportunities for students and empowering the educators in our schools.
That is why we have come together as Chiefs for Change.
We refuse to accept the status quo. Guided by our beliefs, we advocate for change—for policies and practices that make a difference—so that every child in America receives a high-quality education.