While drafting the Declaration of Independence the founders wove in words near and dear to American hearts. The phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” is known to every child as the unalienable rights given to us as Americans. But, there is another thing that the founders had the forethought to weave throughout this document; it’s the concept of accountability.
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I couldn't help but think as I was sitting in a packed conference room at the Business Civic Leadership Center’s (BCLC) national conference last week, that it's amazing we still have an education problem in this country. BCLC gathered corporate social responsibility professionals in Atlanta for a discussion on how to address some of the greatest challenges facing America today―and public education is certainly one of the toughest. But with so many companies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and policy institutions all committed to improving our public education system; shouldn’t we be making more progress?
Twenty-nine years ago, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform alerted the U.S. about the grim outlook of the public education system.
President Reagan’s commission that authored the report included the following statement in a letter sent to then-Secretary of Education Terrel Bell: “Our purpose has been to help define the problems afflicting American education and to provide solutions, not search for scapegoats." That sentiment still holds true.
WASHINGTON, DC.—America needs a workforce skilled in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and a notable group of companies and organizations is uniting to ensure that the nation gets the message.
What does Tennessee have that many other states do not? How about a reform-minded Governor and state chief and an engaged business community committed to student achievement. In 2007, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released Leaders & Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Effectiveness that gave Tennessee an ‘F’ on Academic Achievement of Low-Income and Minority Students and an ‘F’ on Truth in Advertising about Student Proficiency.
In 2010, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) reported a four year graduation rate of a mere 52%. The same year, 18 major Los Angeles institutions including the Los Angeles Unified School District, the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and local institutions of higher education formed the L.A. Compact. The partners identify pressing education issues, and work together to leverage resources to execute solutions with a measurable impact.
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, introduced a pair of bills that would dramatically change the role of the federal government in K–12 education. The two newest components of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) would dismantle the federal accountability pillars laced within the decade-old No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
The House Education and the Workforce Committee recently released two pieces of draft legislation designed to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act were written in an effort to reduce the Federal Government’s role in education by returning authority to the states.
Teachers make a huge impact on their students. Now a multi-decade study suggests that teachers who raise their students’ standardized test scores have a lasting positive effect on their students’ lives well beyond the classroom. A new study by Harvard professors Raj Chetty and John Friedman and Columbia professor Jonah Rockoff found evidence that those students whose teachers were considered highly effective in grade school have greater college matriculation and adult earnings.
In submitting a request for a NCLB waiver, a state educational agency (SEA) must “meaningfully engage and solicit input from diverse stakeholders and communities in the development of its request.” The application specifically says that “business organizations” are among these stakeholders. In further guidance to states, the department noted that “ideally, an SEA will solicit input from stakeholders … and will strengthen its request by revising it based on this input.”