The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was a major force behind the stepped-up federal accountability in the No Child Left Behind Act, has tapped former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to serve as the new head of its education programs.
Ms. Spellings already advises Thomas J. Donohue, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer.
During President George W. Bush’s first term, Ms. Spellings, as White House domestic policy adviser, helped push the administration’s ideas for what would become the NCLB law, including increased accountability through testing.
She became U.S. secretary of education in 2005 and introduced new flexibilities for states in implementing the education law, including permitting states to gauge schools’ progress on student growth, as opposed to comparing different cohorts of students to one another. She also did a considerable amount of globe-trotting, traveling multiple times to almost every continent during her four years in the post.
In an interview with Education Week just before she left office, Ms. Spellings indicated that she would continue to advocate, in some capacity, for using strong accountability systems to close the achievement gap.
“I plan to continue to be a warrior in this battle” she said in December of 2008.
Ms. Spellings will replace Arthur Rothkopf, who is retiring after five years in the Chamber of Commerce post.
A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2010 edition of Education Week as Bush Education Secretary Takes Key Role in Chamber of Commerce