U.S. Chamber Joins Broad-Based Education Coalition to Reform America's Schools with Stimulus Funds

December 4, 2009

'Funding Provides Unprecedented Opportunities to Strengthen Our Educational System,' Rothkopf Says.

WASHINGTON, DC— Today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined the launch of the Coalition for Student Achievement, a broad-based group of education, business, civil rights, and philanthropic organizations, to ensure that the funding in the stimulus package leads to changes that reform America's schools. 
"The stimulus offers us a unique opportunity to reform our schools, improve student achievement, and strengthen the workforce," said Arthur Rothkopf, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  "This Coalition is committed to ensuring that states and school districts make progress on the reforms laid out in the stimulus legislation."
The Coalition is calling on state governors to commit to creating a robust P-16 data system that tracks individual student performance, develops college and career-ready standards, implements high-quality assessments of student learning, improves teaching effectiveness and intervenes in chronically low-performing schools.
Currently, nearly a third of all American students – approximately 1.2 million each year – do not graduate from high school on time and another third are not prepared for college.  Among minority students the problem is even more severe, with nearly 50% of African-American and Hispanic students failing to complete high school on time. 
"Without a doubt, the problem is daunting," Rothkopf said.  "But with these stimulus funds, there is a solution at hand.  Now we must be certain that states and districts receiving these funds are fulfilling their promise to use them toward promoting education reform. We want to be sure that speed and efficiency in spending these funds does not trump reform and improvement."
The Coalition's letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, urging him to use the funds for reform, is available at: http://www.coalitionforstudentachievement.org/.