Education leaders from across the nation gathered today for a comprehensive evaluation of the federal Race to the Top initiative at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce, entitled Are We There Yet? Race to the Top in 2011. Steven Brill, author of Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools, keynoted the event, which provided an up-to-date status check on Race to the Top from a national perspective and included panels on assessments and accountability.
In an unprecedented show of unity in advance of today’s Senate mark-up of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2011, a bipartisan coalition of civil rights groups, business associations, statewide education officials, and education advocates are declining to support the bill proposed by HELP Committee Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Enzi due in large part to the absence of accountability measures that narrow the achievement gaps for low-income students, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities.
Proposed legislation in the Senate to renew the landmark education reform law known as No Child Left Behind is lacking in rigor and threatens to stall, or even reverse, educational improvements in the decade since the original legislation was enacted, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Honorable Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education and current President of the U.S. Chamber’s Forum for Policy Innovation, gathered with business leaders from across the state to discuss the state of education in Tennessee and across the country, the imperative for business engagement in education and the actions Tennessee must take to continue the fight for reform. Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber; Darrell Freeman, chairman of Zycron; Kevin Huffman, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education; and Steve Turner, CEO of Butler’s Run, were also on hand for a panel discussion moderated by Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Economic success begins in the classroom—which does not bode well for the future of the U.S. economy. American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science, compared with students in 30 industrialized countries, and the Broad Foundation estimates $192 billion in lost income and taxes due to dropouts each year. So how do we fix American education?
Former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, a leading enforcer of the federal No Child Left Behind law, says she worries a proposal to dismantle that system would be a step backward for the nation’s 50 million students. Spellings was a headliner at a Chamber Education 2020 speaker series in Nashville on Wednesday. Tennessee was one of the first states to ask the Obama administration for freedom from some of NCLB’s measures.
While the Tennessee state slogan, “America at its best” is one of pride and achievement, when we look to the current state of Tennessee’s education system we are reminded of a common catchphrase: “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
Remember the adage, "the only constant is change"? True -- unless you're talking about education. The number of people in the education system who have actually embraced change is so completely dwarfed by the number who resist it, that the impact our innovators have had in moving the dial on student outcomes is almost inconsequential when you look at the overall data.
Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce hosted a retreat in Seattle to learn best practices of business engagement in education. Our delegation of eight members of the Chamber’s Education Report Card Committee was able to share our experiences from Nashville and gain insight into the efforts occurring in seven other states: Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, Texas and Washington.
Among recent top stories: the Obama Administration's move to remake K-12 education policy and significantly strengthen the hand of the federal government in the process. While policymakers on both sides of the aisle have been talking more than acting, the Administration has been diligently preparing its battle plans for an overhaul of No Child Left Behind. And it looks like they're about to do an end run around the Congress.