September 15, 2022


Working group collaborating on policy recommendations for improving the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced a groundbreaking new initiative focused on improving education outcomes for all students.

The U.S. Chamber Foundation is leading a multi-year initiative with the support of a working group of preeminent leaders in education. The working group members bring an impressive breadth of experience, expertise, and diverse perspectives to this initiative. Included are leaders of organizations such as The Education Trust, Foundation for Excellence in Education, Parents Amplifying Voices in Education, and the Center for Measurement Justice. A full list of working group members is included below.

"We are at an inflection point in public education policy,” said Cheryl Oldham, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation senior vice president. “The historic learning losses incurred during the pandemic sit on top of a system that was already failing to serve many of our students. Before the pandemic, only 38 percent of third-graders were reading at grade level, and just last week we received dire news from the Nation’s Report Card: 9-year-olds experienced the largest score decline in reading since 1990 and the first ever score decline in math. We need to double down on the things that are working and use the lessons from our past to improve future policies."

The working group and the U.S. Chamber Foundation share a common goal of developing policy recommendations focused on all students, especially those who have been historically underserved by the system. The group believes in the power of disaggregated data to shine a bright light on areas of inequity and knows that too little has been done to bridge the resource gap between low-income and high-income schools. The working group and the U.S. Chamber Foundation are committed to asking the tough questions, listening to people on every side of the issue, and seeking out emerging innovations in the areas of data and assessment.

To thoroughly understand the issues of today's system, the U.S. Chamber Foundation and the working group are seeking input from stakeholders across the country including top leaders in education policy, education administrators, local and federal policymakers, business leaders, and nationally recognized advocates. This “learning agenda” includes regular meetings of the working group to solicit and hear presentations from the field about how to improve the system and its use of data, specifically testing data, as a tool for school improvement and accountability. The working group seeks to learn from recent history, understand the current state of play, and leverage these conversations to develop recommendations for the future of the education system going forward.

In the first phase of this initiative, Dan Goldhaber, director of the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research at the American Institutes for Research, will conduct a review of what is known—and unknown—about how the reforms of the past 20 years delivered on their promises and where they did not. Armed with data from this research and the learning agenda, the focus will shift to the leaders and doers across the country who are working on the next generation of technology and policy reforms to improve the system. Together, these pieces will inform a set of recommendations focused on ways in which the current data, measurement, and accountability requirements may evolve and improve in service to a more equitable and effective system.

The full list of working group members includes:

  • Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education
  • Denise Forte, Interim CEO, The Education Trust
  • Cheryl Oldham, Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Ian Rosenblum, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; and Principal, ILO Group
  • Robin Lake, Director, Center on Reinventing Public Education
  • Patricia Levesque, CEO, Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • Maya Cadogan, Executive Director, Parents Amplifying Voices in Education
  • John White, former Louisiana State Superintendent of Education and Chief Success Officer, Great Minds
  • Dr. Ivan Duran, Superintendent, Highline Public Schools
  • Dr. Jennifer Randall, President, Center for Measurement Justice
  • Kaleem Caire, CEO, One City Schools
  • Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year
  • Dr. Lynn C. Jennings, Senior Director of National and State Partnerships, The Education Trust
  • Dr. Christy Hovanetz, Senior Policy Fellow, Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • Dr. Christine Pitts, Director of Impact & Communications, Center on Reinventing Public Education

To learn more about this initiative, the working group members, and keep updated on findings, visit: