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.
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.
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.
Over the past 14 months, the National Chamber Foundation (NCF), Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) have worked with key partners in the business community to highlight the extent of the crisis in our schools, identify forces standing in the way of needed change, and promote positive solutions such as competition, accountability, and choice to provide America’s children with the education they deserve and employers with the workers they need. Through their partnership, NCF, ICW and USCC reached business, opinion, and local leaders around the country by screening the documentary Waiting for “Superman,” creating and distributing materials and resources to state and local chambers of commerce, and engaging local and state business leaders to host follow-up forums and events to invigorate our grassroots network.
A Look Into Teacher Effectiveness, A Look Into Turning Around Failing Schools, Moving From Data Systems to Data Use, Standards Implementation and College and Career Readiness
In March 2011, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) and National Chamber Foundation (NCF) released fact sheets for every state and the District of Columbia comparing the state of K–12 public education across nine categories. The fact sheets give business leaders, parents, community leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders a snapshot of the education landscape in each state—what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s downright ugly. The fact sheets are meant to arm leaders with basic facts and spur them to learn more about what is really happening in their schools and statehouses with respect to K–12 public education. In other words, the fact sheets are meant to fuel change.
The Central Florida Education Summit will be hosted by the Central Florida Partnership and sponsored by the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, in partnership with the National Chamber Foundation, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, and the Central Florida Public School Board Coalition.
U.S. News STEM Solutions 2013 will bring together business, education and government leaders who have long recognized the need to connect the dots between STEM education and careers. Adding to last year’s successful conference format, the second edition will give more dedicated time for these leaders to interact and collaborate.