Spellings, Rhee: Business Community Must Address Education

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Margaret Spellings, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Forum for Policy Innovation and former Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, traveled to Austin, Texas and Denver, Colorado this week to urge business leaders to vigorously engage in education reform, citing the current economic situation and the urgent need for an educated and skilled workforce in today’s global economy. In conjunction with these critical discussions, the Chamber’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce released a non-partisan school board candidate questionnaire. This important tool will allow voters, editorial boards, and other stakeholders to gauge the views and knowledge of school board candidates.

“Choosing the best available candidates is essential to creating a leadership body that not only holds high expectations for the achievement of all students, but also understands how to strategically set goals and execute policies to reach that vision,” said Spellings.

Given the unique role school boards play in school districts, this questionnaire was authored to ensure candidates clearly understand district governance and have a strong commitment to advancing student outcomes. The questions were developed in consultation with national education governance and policy experts and school board veterans.

Spellings was joined in Colorado today by Michelle Rhee, the CEO and founder of the nonprofit StudentsFirst, for a candid conversation with business leaders on the state of education in Colorado and throughout the United States.

“Texas and Colorado have been leaders in education reform; however, there is always more work to be done,” said Spellings. “As a nation we cannot reverse course and lose focus on closing the achievement gap and holding states and districts accountable for the progress of all students and all schools. We need the business community to stay engaged as long as it takes to declare victory for all kids.”

These efforts are supported by a grant from the Daniels Fund, a Colorado-based foundation established by Bill Daniels, a cable television pioneer known for his generous support of innovative causes.

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.

Matthew Tabor

Matthew Tabor

Matthew is a prolific, independent voice in the national education debate. He is a tireless advocate for high academic standards from pre-K through graduate school, fiscal sense and personal responsibility. He values parents’ and families’ rights and believes in accountability for teachers, administrators, politicians and all taxpayer-funded education entities. With a unique background that includes work in higher education, executive recruiting, professional sport and government, Matthew has consulted on new media and communication strategies for a broad range of clients. He writes the blog “Education for the Aughts” at www.matthewktabor.com , has contributed to National Journal’s ‘Expert’ blog for Education , and interacts with the education community on Twitter and Google+.