U.S. Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Education Department's 'Race to the Top' Guidance Program

December 4, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today welcomed the Department of Education's guidance on the distribution of the $4.3 billion Race to the Top Fund which was enacted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  This program is designed as one of the administration's key vehicles for promoting K-12 education reform throughout the nation. 
"Based upon our initial review of the guidelines, we are pleased with the strong emphasis on reform that the Chamber has been advocating," said Chamber Senior Vice President Arthur Rothkopf.  "We are especially pleased that this guidance sets a new and much higher bar for the return on federal investment."
In line with the administration's guidance, the Chamber has long supported strong state charter school laws, teacher and principal evaluation and compensation systems tied to performance, high quality data systems, enhanced standards and assessments, and increased emphasis on taking steps necessary to improve low-performing schools.
"We are pleased to see the administration move forward in setting new state requirements for verifying performance based on the distribution of effective teachers, achievement gains, closing achievement gaps, and successful graduation rates on an annual basis," Rothkopf said.

In 2007, the Chamber, along with the Center for American Progress, issued a Joint Platform for Education Reform that challenged the states and the federal government to "fundamentally rethink how we provide education in this country."

Since that time, the Chamber has focused on four key reforms: better teaching, more innovation, better data, and better management—all of which contribute to building a school system deserving of our nation's democratic heritage and capable of enhancing America's economic strength.

The Chamber welcomes the Department of Education's guidance and looks forward to working with the department and Secretary Arne Duncan to help in the long-term success of our nation's education system. The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.