U.S. Chamber Joins Forces with NEA & NAM on Tough Choices Education Reform Initiative

December 4, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today joined forces with the nation’s largest teachers’ union and the National Association of Manufacturers to ask states to give a fair trial to the education reform initiatives outlined in Tough Choices or Tough Times, the report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce.  
“The U.S. Chamber doesn’t agree with every detail of the recommendations in the report,” said Arthur Rothkopf, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber.  “But the case it makes for revolutionary change is compelling and urgent, and we do believe the proposals deserve serious attention.”
The touchstone of the Tough Choices report is its insistence that we recruit high quality teachers just as other leading countries do right now.   Additional recommendations outlined in the report include:  revamping the high school-college transition; reallocating funds to high priority strategies for improving system performance; redesigning how schools are funded and managed; and other needed improvements.
The National Center on Education and the Economy, sponsor of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, is assembling a consortium of states interested in implementing key aspects of Tough Choices.  Six states—Arizona, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Utah—have already committed to using the framework provided in the report as the basis of their own reform plans. These states intend to demonstrate that we can leapfrog from where we are to complete, powerful instructional systems that can vault the U.S. to the top international rankings in a relatively short time.  
“I am proud to link with others here today on the “Tough Choices” agenda,” continued Rothkopf.  “We’ll continue to talk with one another about the future of public education in the U.S. and the concrete steps we can take to make sure that the country once again has the best educated workforce in the world.”
The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) promotes high educational standards and effective workforce training systems so that they are aligned with each other and with today’s rigorous business demands.

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.