Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce, the education and workforce policy affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is embarking on a cross-country tour to discuss education reform in local communities and inspire local leaders to become catalysts for change.

Why YOU Should Get Involved!

Too few students are completing their K-12 education

Thirty percent of U.S. students fail to graduate from high school in four years—and the dropout rate is nearly 50% for African-Americans and Hispanics.

Too few students are graduating with the skills they need

Up to half of those who do graduate lack the advanced literacy and math skills they need to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce. A majority of U.S. 4th graders and 8th graders are not proficient in reading or math.

Education is critical to the future of the U.S. workforce

There are more than 3 million job openings that remain unfilled partially due to a “skills gap” between the workforce and business needs. Consequently, the business community must spend billions of dollars on remediation training for unqualified new hires.

Success on Main Street depends on success in the classroom

Business leaders—whether as individuals or operating through organizations such as local chambers of commerce, foundations, or public education funds—need to play a critical role in supporting effective school board governance and reforms that improve student achievement.



 The Tour


Past Events

June 5 - Orlando, FL

April 23 - San Diego, CA

April 4 - Albany, NY

March 28 - Billings, MT

March 14 - Somerset, NJ

Feb. 27 - Orlando, FL (invite only)

Feb. 20 - Tacoma-Pierce County, WA

Feb. 6 & 7 - Jefferson City, MO

Jan. 25 & 26 - Birmingham, AL

Jan. 16 & 17 - Indianapolis, IN

Jan. 8 - Albuquerque, NM

Nov. 28, 2012 - Phoenix, AZ

Oct. 31, 2012 - El Paso, TX

Oct. 10, 2012 - Memphis, TN




The Film - Won't Back Down

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play two determined mothers; one a teacher, who will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children. This powerful story of parenthood, friendship and courage mirrors events that are making headlines daily.



Resources for Business

Fact Sheets 


About the initiative

The 'Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity' tour will include:

  • An interactive forum of local business leaders, educators, and community leaders facilitated by education reform policy experts and practitioners. Participants will have an opportunity to strategize with other leaders in the community on the best ways to implement change.

  • A screening of the film Won’t Back Down—a story of a single mother’s struggle to create meaningful change in her daughter’s chronically failing school.

  • Key resources, including a customized fact sheet detailing relevant education and workforce data of the community.

If you would like more information about the 'Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity' initiative or are interested in hosting a stop on the tour, please contact Caitlin Codella.

Download the PDF



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