U.S. Chamber and Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry Host Education Reform Forum

November 29, 2012

Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity Tour Stops in Phoenix to Rally Thought Leaders in Education, Government, and Business, and Address Local Education Issues

PHOENIX, AZ—Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity, a cross-country tour focused on education reform in local communities, stopped in Phoenix today. In a forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), the National Chamber Foundation (NCF), and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry; education, government and business leaders gathered to address the current state of education reform and “what’s next” for metropolitan Phoenix school districts. The conversation tackled many critical and relevant issues including why a large number of students in the Phoenix area are not graduating from high school ready for college or career.

“Today, too few students are completing their K–12 education, and increasingly, students are graduating high school without attaining the skills needed to succeed at a postsecondary institution or the workforce,” said Cheryl Oldham, vice president of ICW. “Local school districts play a critical role in ensuring that students are adequately prepared to enter the workforce, and the business community must do everything in its power to ensure that these systems are supported.”

Studies show that by 2020, 63 percent of jobs in Arizona will require a career certificate or degree, yet only half of the adults in the state currently have these qualifications. When compared to six peer cities, Phoenix has the second-lowest percentage of residents age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“Not all Arizona students finish high school with the skills and knowledge they need for success in their careers and college. This issue not only has a profound effect on the economy, but also the community,” said Glenn Hamer, President and CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “By tackling this issue together, our students will have a brighter future from which we can all benefit.”

The tour will also stop in Albuquerque, N.M., Jefferson City, Mo., San Diego, Calif., Tacoma, Wash., and Trenton, N.J. with more locations to be announced.

Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity is supported by a grant from the Daniels Fund, a Colorado-based foundation established by Bill Daniels, a cable television pioneer known for his generous support of innovative causes.

To learn more, visit: www.breakthemonopoly.com

Follow the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag: #breakthemonopoly

The Daniels Fund provides college scholarships to deserving students, and grants to outstanding nonprofit organizations. Visit www.DanielsFund.org  for more information.

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce is a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, promoting the rigorous educational standards and effective job training systems needed to preserve the strength of America's greatest economic resource, its workforce.

The National Chamber Foundation (NCF), a non-profit 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 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.

www.uschamber.com            @USChamber            www.freeenterprise.com