Chiefs for Change is committed to putting children first through bold, visionary education reform that will increase student achievement and prepare students for success in college and careers.

For media inquiries, please email ChiefsMediaInquiries@gmail.com.


Chiefs for Change is a bipartisan coalition of current and former state education chiefs who believe that American public education can be dramatically improved and share an urgency to achieve that goal. Together, they provide a strong voice for bold reform on the national, state and local level.

Chiefs for Change offers a network of state education leaders with experience in successful reform who continue to advance proven policies for the betterment of education. The coalition formed by five state education chiefs in November 2010, today represents a number of ethnically- and geographically-diverse states. The Chiefs question the status quo every day and work tirelessly to bring about change to benefit all students. By talking regularly and challenging each other’s work, Chiefs for Change members provide each other much needed reflection on the policies and actions that matter most.

By placing the interest of children above the well-being of its members, Chiefs for Change has taken on the entrenched practices that have long held back our education system – practices that have favored adults, instead of students.


For media inquiries, please email ChiefsMediaInquiries@gmail.com

Guiding Principles Download PDF

Recruit, Reward and Retain Excellent Teachers and Leaders

  • We need a new compensation and support system that meets the modern-day needs of hiring, retaining and rewarding effective teachers and leaders for all students regardless of zip code.
  • Highly effective teachers and leaders must be recognized, rewarded and supported based on their performance rather than certification or credentials.
  • Teachers and leaders must be evaluated primarily based on student outcome data and growth with an emphasis on closing achievement gaps.
  • Ineffective teachers and principals must be removed.

Reward Excellence

  • Teachers, schools, and districts must be rewarded for increasing student achievement and closing achievement gaps.
  • As schools and districts meet academic targets and raise student achievement, they should earn flexibility and autonomy.

Replace Failure with Success

  • Intense interventions must be provided for chronically low-performing schools.
  • Failing schools cannot be permitted to shuffle along the road to improvement; schools must show demonstrable and sustained improvement or face closure.
  • School and district funding and governance are key leverage points to turnaround low-performing schools and districts.

High Academic Standards

  • High standards should be the norm for all students across the nation.
  • Standards should be benchmarked against international standards.
  • Expectations should be measured against the highest achieving students, states and countries while systematically raising the bar.
  • Graduation standards should ensure success in college and careers.

Transparent and Rigorous Accountability

  • All schools must be accountable for the academic progress of all students.
  • School accountability should measure student growth annually, ensure continuous improvement over time and focus attention on gap closing.
  • Academic assessments should be sophisticated, rigorous, effectively measure student achievement and provide useful and timely information to teachers and families.
  • School accountability should incorporate tiered interventions based on school performance and progress with students.
  • School accountability should disaggregate student achievement data and effectively use that data to inform real time instruction and interventions.
  • School rankings should categorize schools based on student outcomes and should recognize excellence.
  • School rankings and reports on student achievement should be transparent, clear and easily understood by parents and the public.

Viable Options for All Students

  • All students should have the opportunity to attend an excellent school.
  • Funding should follow the student and allow for parents to decide what is best for their child.
  • States should provide an expanded array of viable educational options for all students, including charter schools and digital learning opportunities.
  • Funding and other policy incentives should be provided for rigorous, strategic and aligned digital learning options, specifically those that allow for customized, accelerated, student-centered learning.