Chris Minnich - Executive Director / Council of Chief State School Officers

Today we launch a series of four Special Episodes of The Ignite Show featuring four State Teachers of the Year teaching to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This all was made possible by the generous support of The National Network of State Teachers of the Year and The Hunt Institute in partnership with other teaching and learning partners including the NEA, AFT and PTA.

As I shared with Chris Minnich, Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers – the “home” of The Common Core State Standards – in a recent interview, it truly is an overwhelming honor to be able to share this series of insights into what the Common Core State Standards are truthfully all about! This is such a moment in time in our country of great historic significance – we must do this right! So there is a huge sense of responsibility in sharing this information, which Chris related to given his role as being THE leader of the CCSS! We both agreed that it is such a relief to have good news for a change that we get to share with parents, local business associates and the general public what the majority of State leaders, Governors and educators already know – that the Common Core State Standards are GREAT for our children, our teachers, our nation!

As we spoke, he shared several thought provoking insights I saw as important to pass along:

  • There is clear evidence of an increase in interest by many to know the facts about the Common Core State Standards as evidenced by the tremendous uptick in the sheer volume of visits to their website – over one million a month now! 
  • The momentum is palpable for ALL states taking this to heart – as the five states that have not adopted the CCSS with the 45 states are having meaningful conversations about raising their own state standards. 
  • We need to be very reflective as those supporting our children and teachers to realize that they are in “catch up” mode, and there will be students entering a grade unprepared now for that grade. This should cause us to look forward, 5-10 years down the road to know that we are doing the most important thing we can do for our students – now – and we need to hold the line! 

Listening to Chris was encouraging and enlightening. He is in a unique position to have the perspective of walking beside our nation’s top education chiefs, listening to them share ideas and concerns, hearing them debate different perspectives. It was encouraging to listen as he reported the very real and overwhelming majority of our states leaders standing squarely in support of these standards. It was enlightening because his call for us all to be more patient with those who do not agree that the CCSS are a good thing hit home for me. I need to be more patient – and just share the facts.

So we launch the shows with the overriding request that you first know the facts – and for that, you can go to to dig around through a wealth of information that should give you nearly every answer to every question you might have. We predict that as you do learn first-hand what the standards are, you will then understand why it is so critically important for us as a country to get behind the teachers implementing these standards – right now! Then enjoy the first episode and the chance to step into the classroom of a strong educator who is implementing the Common Core State Standards with demonstrable skill.