As a business and community leader, it is crucial for you to become informed about and involved in the governance of your local school district. Decisions made by local school boards affect the quality of education delivered. A strong education system produces graduates who are prepared for higher education or the workforce. Ultimately, these graduates will become part of a skilled workforce that will attract businesses to and enhance economic vitality in your community.
As part of the 'Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity' tour, the Institute for a Competitve Workforce issued fact sheets of the state of education in the community. The fact sheets include key data points including National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, college remediation rates, high school graduation rates, local economic indicators, state education laws, school governance, and others.
Today’s business leaders grapple with the overarching question: How do we compete and win in the rapidly advancing 21st century global economy? Among the many factors that influence the success of business and the strength of our overall economy, few matter more than human capital. In our workforce lies the imagination that drives ideas, the ingenuity that leads to innovation, and the energy to put it all to work in our economy. But employers now face an unthinkable challenge in a time of chronic high unemployment— an insufficient supply of skilled and educated workers to meet the demands of a competitive workforce.
The Institute for a Competitive Workforce assembled the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Task Force on Student Aid to develop a set of core principles that represent the needs of the business community when considering the redesign of federal financial aid, and to contribute to the public debate by offering observations about the shortcomings of the current system and discussing ideas for experts to consider.
One key to thriving in a competitive global economy is a properly skilled workforce that can innovate, create new products and services, and bring them to market quickly and efficiently. America remains a leader in innovation, but its workforce is falling behind. Education and workforce development systems have not kept pace with the demands of the 21st century, and we all bear the costs of this failure. American businesses spend billions of dollars each year training their employees and pour billions more into education. Despite these substantial investments, employers continue to report that too many job seekers are unqualified for modern jobs.
This report identifies the best and worst performing states—the leaders and laggards— in public postsecondary education. It focuses on the performance of the institutions over which state governments have the most influence: public colleges and universities. In an effort to systematically measure the most important factors being watched by policymakers, business leaders, and concerned citizens, we graded state performance and policy.
These case studies show that business leaders—whether as individuals or operating through organizations such as local chambers of commerce, foundations, or public education funds—can play a critical role in supporting effective school board governance and reforms that improve student achievement.
The business community is the number one consumer of the public education system and therefore must be an involved and engaged stakeholder in the education of America’s children. Through the Business Education Network (BEN) ―a coalition of business leaders engaged in Pre-K to 12th grade education policy, programs, and research―participants will develop and promote the implementation of programs and policies that improve academic achievement in this country.
Due to unique structural and local political dynamics, the Los Angeles Board of Education is composed of colorful individual personalities who pursue divergent agendas and report directly to distinct constituencies. As a result, individual board members may be powerful players in their own right, but lack cohesion as a governing body, hampering their ability to work collectively to advance a shared vision for education in Los Angeles. This lack of board unity has created a vacuum that enables other leading figures in Los Angeles—including the mayor and a series of strong superintendents—to drive their own education reform agendas independent of the Los Angeles school board.
The Austin Independent School District (AISD) has taken significant steps over the past several years to boost student achievement through results-driven policies, including performance-based teacher pay and a strategic plan tied to student performance. But the district continues to struggle with a persistent achievement gap between white and minority students, and currently faces financial challenges caused by state budget cuts. In recent years, a partnership between the Austin Chamber of Commerce and AISD has helped drive reform, and the expertise offered by business leaders can help the district respond to new and emerging challenges. This partnership illustrates how third-party support and pressure can create stability and consensus in fractured and politicized school board environments.