A New Year, but Same Issues

Dec 31, 2012

As President Obama prepares for his inauguration to a second term and a new Congress prepares to get under way, the agenda in Washington will be anything but a clean slate. Many of the critical issues that we have studied and debated in the past—with no successful conclusions—remain.

The importance of our continued, thoughtful involvement in the policy discourse is clear. We must remain fully engaged, working with elected leaders to develop commonsense solutions. We must move beyond the political differences aggravated by this past election cycle and forge a new path—one of willing but principled cooperation and collaboration. Even when faced with a divided partisan government, we must bridge these gaps and build workable solutions. We will need to continue reaching out to all sides to build understanding and compromise.

Clearly, the capacity to question, analyze, research, and develop impactful and constructive solutions is a skill set fundamental to our nation’s leadership and continued success. This is an issue I have felt passionate about for years. How do we best prepare the next generation for the opportunities and challenges they will face during their lifetimes? How do we best prepare them with the fundamental skills essential for a productive and rewarding life, one increasingly driven by the capacity for lifelong learning?

For years, the breadth and structure of our education system have been a competitive advantage for our nation. Our nation’s success in years past has been recognized by others, copied, and improved upon. Business has an important role in helping take education to the next level. Business is the intersection between classroom studies and the world of work. Business connects the importance of fundamentals of reading and comprehension, math, science, critical thinking, and teamwork to the world of work. 

The future is straight ahead. As individual business leaders, as companies, as industries, and as members of the U.S.Chamber, we must develop and expand on impactful ways to tell the story of free enterprise and the power of individual initiative. It is a story that we are best able to tell.

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