How Do States Choose the Chief State School Officer?
How chief state school officers are chosen across the country is a bit of a hodge-podge.
According to information from the National Association of State Boards of Education, voters in 13 states elect their chief state school officer (CSSO).
In 38 states, the CSSO is appointed by either the state board of education (22 states), the Governor (14 states) or in Oregon’s case, the Education Investment Board. In Washington, D.C., the CSSO is appointed by the Mayor.
In Alabama, the elected nine-member state board of education currently appoints the state superintendent. Eight state board members are elected by district, and the ninth member is the Governor, who serves as President of the state board.
Just last week, Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham) filed a bill calling for the state superintendent to be elected, a change that would require the people of Alabama to approve a Constitutional amendment. Rep. Shedd (R-Fairview) filed a similar bill the same day, but with a few different sponsors than Mooney’s bill.
Some of the sponsors of the bill to elect the state superintendent are also pushing to allow Cullman County’s voters to consider whether they would rather go back to electing their county’s superintendent, after having only moved to have their board appoint their superintendent in 2013.
Two weeks ago, Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), filed a bill calling for the Governor to appoint the state superintendent. That bill had multiple bipartisan co-sponsors, but Collins said she will not pursue passage of the bill. That, too, would have required a vote to change the Constitution.
The State Board of Education is accepting applications until noon on June 7 to fill the vacancy created when Dr. Tommy Bice retired March 31.
We thought it would be helpful to take a look across the country to see how CSSO’s are chosen and who chooses them. Hover over a state to see more information.