The Case for Being Bold

Apr 13, 2011

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) will host a national summit of business and education leaders today beginning at 12:00 p.m.  The event coincides with the release of a new report, "The Case for Being Bold: A New Agenda for Business in Improving STEM Education". The report outlines the essential role business plays in the success of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, which is crucial to U.S. students’ preparation for the workforce and to American economic health for future generations. 

The United States has historically enjoyed astonishing success on most measures of accomplishment in STEM. But in an evolving world, the advantages that carried the United States through the past century appear far less likely to carry it through the next. With other nations making dramatic educational gains and challenging American supremacy in technology, finance, and research, our nation’s continued success requires dramatic improvement when it comes to educating our youth in math and science.

The American business community is well-suited to play a vital role in the STEM challenge. With enormous credibility, political heft, and inevitable role as the employer of America’s STEM talent, business leaders are perhaps the only major stakeholder with the freedom, reason, and muscle to challenge a comfortable status quo that universities, school boards, educators, unions, and parents have been reluctant to change.

As the report notes, to tackle the STEM challenge more ambitiously, business leaders should focus on specific key areas:

  • Taking full advantage of strengthened and streamlined academic standards.
  • Rethinking how teachers are hired, deployed, and prepared.
  • Promoting new models of schooling that can facilitate STEM learning.

This afternoon’s event will feature discussion about the role of the business community in improving STEM education. Led by Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education and current president of the U.S. Chamber’s Forum for Policy Innovation, the event also features Joel Klein, former New York City Schools Chancellor and current NewsCorp Executive Vice President; Michele Cahill, Vice President, National Programs, at the Carnegie Corporation; and Frederick M. Hess, co-author of the report and Director of the Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The event will be webcast live.  To view the webcast, please click here.

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