Published Online: March 7, 2001
Published in Print: March 7, 2001, as Federal File

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Business Sense

Big business has taken on a new venture in Washington: the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The Business Roundtable, which represents corporate executives, will spend millions of dollars—the exact amount is not yet known—on a lobbying effort for measures aimed at improving education, the group announced last month. And last week, the Business Coalition for Excellence in Education, a subsidiary of the roundtable, presented members of Congress a list of principles its members want to see reflected in the ESEA.

The roundtable, which is based in Washington, plans to support proposals from both Democrats and Republicans for annual tests, higher standards, and accountability linked to academic results.

"We're looking at a variety of activities in the education reform effort," said John Schachter, a spokesman for the roundtable.

Members of the group plan to lobby their members of Congress, both in Washington and in their districts, and they have also formed a grassroots lobbying campaign, Mr. Schachter said.

Meanwhile, the Business Coalition for Excellence, a new group formed by 60 business executives, wants Congress to include rigorous standards and accountability measures in the ESEA. Its principles call for increasing flexibility in federal regulations for states and districts, improving teacher quality, integrating technology in the classroom, and improving mathematics and science education, among other issues.

The members received a warm welcome last week from Rep. John Boehner, who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

"The coalition's principles show that America's employers are concerned that many students, particularly in our most disadvantaged communities, are not getting the education they need and deserve," the Ohio Republican said in a written statement.

—Joetta L. Sack federal@epe.org

Vol. 20, Issue 25, Page 27

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