U.S. Chamber Report Highlights Private Sector Innovations that are Transforming Education

May 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.— At the May 16 forum of higher education stakeholders, “edupreneurs,” and policymakers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) released a report on the urgent need for innovation coupled with policy reforms in higher education. The report, College 2.0: Transforming Higher Education through Greater Innovation and Smarter Regulations, comes at a time when new regulations are being debated and the community is working to meet President Obama’s goal of having the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by 2020.

“The United States is losing ground internationally in degree, credential, and skill attainment; tuition is increasing faster than the cost of living; and traditional institutions are experiencing a productivity crisis,” said Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education and current president of the U.S. Chamber’s Forum for Policy Innovation. “It is clear that innovations from all sectors—including the private sector—are needed for the transformative change required to meet our nation’s higher education goals. Regulations must create an atmosphere where new ideas can thrive.”

Spellings was joined at today’s event by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Anthony Wilder Miller; Stephen Shank, Founder of Capella Education Company and the Shank Institute for Innovative Learning; Former Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents Eric D. Fingerhut; Robert Silberman, CEO of Strayer University; and Western Governors University President Robert W. Mendenhall, among others. The day-long event included discussions on education, technology, finance, and regulations.

College 2.0, commissioned by ICW and authored by T. Vance McMahan and Mario Loyola, spotlights innovations across sectors that challenge the status quo, are scalable, and ultimately can help save the U.S. higher education system. The report calls for the overhaul of current regulatory, funding, and accreditation systems in higher education and instead focusing accountability on student and institutional outcomes. 

“Increasing student achievement and productivity and controlling costs in order to serve all students seeking higher learning will require strong leadership,” continued Spellings. “We must recognize that ideas from outside the established system can benefit our students and we need to examine policies to ensure fairness across all sectors. Our focus must be on providing prospective students with the tools they need to compare institutions and make informed decisions on their higher education options.”   
   
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 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.