Education A National Roundup

U.S. Chamber to Rank State School Systems in New Reform Push

By Ann Bradley — January 10, 2006 1 min read

The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said last week that his organization plans to get into the school reform business by measuring and ranking the performance of state school systems.

Thomas J. Donohue, in his Jan. 4 “state of American business” press briefing highlighting trends for 2006, said the Washington-based business organization has tended to stay out of efforts to improve schools at the local and state levels.

But the need to ensure an adequate supply of workers and the increased economic competition from countries with increasingly well-educated workforces, such as China and India, have changed chamber officials’ thinking.

“The bottom line is that this nation cannot rightfully expect to lead the 21st century’s information-technology-driven global economy when we have upwards of 30 percent of our young people not graduating from high school,” Mr. Donohue said.

The chamber will “measure and rank” state school systems and disseminate the findings widely to the business community, investors, the press, and the public, he said, in the hope of galvanizing improvement and bringing more resources and empowerment to low-performing schools.