February 11, 2002
Dear Chief State School Officer:
On January 8, President Bush made an unprecedented commitment to America's future by signing the No Child Left Behind Act, which takes historic steps to bring comprehensive change to our system of education. Over the next two days, I hosted meetings with many Chief State School Officers from across the country to share ideas and strengthen relationships. I believe your colleagues who attended the meetings went home with the same vision for partnership and sense of energetic optimism the President and I hold.
As we work together to bring positive and meaningful change to our schools, we must simultaneously recognize and adapt to the changes thrust upon us by the events of September 11, 2001. My office has worked diligently to offer support and guidance to assist schools and parents in coping with the new and extraordinary challenges we all face. We have also learned critical information that will help us ensure our schools are secure and safe learning environments. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education is planning several activities and initiatives to prepare our schools further for potential threats affecting our students, educators, and their families.
The enclosed document offers detailed information to bring you up to date on the specific actions taken by the Department of Education to address the needs of those directly and indirectly affected by September 11. It also provides several important lessons learned with respect to threat assessment and crisis management in our schools, as well as actions educators and communities can take to implement effective policies to protect our children from both internal and external threats. I encourage you to share this information with members of your staff working on safety and crisis management issues.
Whether we are working to raise expectations for academic achievement or seeking to increase safety within our schools, I am committed to helping you provide an optimistic and hopeful future for every American child.