U.S. Chamber Report Illustrates Need for Voice of Business in School Governance
13 Case Studies in U.S. Cities Reveal That Business Leaders Need to Hold School Board and Education Leaders Accountable to Ensure a High Quality Workforce
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the national discussion about improving public education increasingly focused on how to implement common sense reforms, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) and the National Chamber Foundation (NCF), affiliates of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released a report today highlighting the efforts of school boards in 13 cities across 12 states. The report examines the relationship between the private and public sector, and makes the case that business leaders should play a role in holding school board and education leaders accountable.
“This report demonstrates that political interests and widespread complacency can trump student interests at the school board level,” said President of the Chamber's Forum for Policy Innovation and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. “Schools succeed when they are accountable to the community, and we believe the business community can help provide that accountability.”
ICW and NCF studied 13 cities, with an eye toward cutting through the typical explanations for success or failure. Among the studies’ key findings are:
- School boards and superintendents play a surprisingly large role in district education quality.
- External standards are mitigated by the effects of money and political ambition at the school board level.
- “Success is fragile.” Changes to the composition of a particular school board can have profound results on the climate for reform.
- Business organizations can successfully provide external accountability to districts.
The report examined school districts in Atlanta, Austin, Bismarck, Dayton, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Newark, Laramie, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. Each case study highlights the positive developments in each district, while identifying room for improvement.
“In this era of renewed local control, the report examines a critical but often overlooked player in education reform,” added Spellings. “It makes the case for better engagement by all stakeholders, especially the business community, to ensure local school boards are a key part of advancing student interests above all.”
The National Chamber Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is dedicated to identifying and fostering public debate on emerging critical issues. We provide business and government leaders with insight and resources to address tomorrow’s challenges.
The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) is the education and workforce nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. ICW promotes the rigorous educational standards and effective job training systems needed to preserve the strength of America's greatest economic resource, its workforce.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.