School & District Management

Business Group Merges With Education Center

By Catherine Gewertz — November 13, 2002 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The National Alliance of Business, a prominent supporter of efforts to improve education, has merged with a group that uses data to drive better school performance. The newly configured organization will help states implement the nuts-and-bolts systems deemed necessary for higher student achievement.

With last week’s merger announcement, the NAB is officially out of business. But its mission will continue under the banner of the Austin, Texas-based National Center for Educational Accountability. The merger was conceived as a way to bring the strengths of each organization to bear as states struggle to fulfill the mandates of the federal “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001.

“Now that the legislation is passed, we are in a new stage,” said Roberts T. Jones, the former chief executive officer of the NAB, who will now serve on the NCEA’s board of directors. “We are getting into the detailed implementation of very complex things, because everything in that legislation is based on data collection, management, and disclosure.”

“That changes the way you do business and the kinds of resources you need to bring to the table,” he added.

A key resource offered by the Washington-based NAB is the business coalitions it has built across the country in its 34 years. Those coalitions can play a pivotal role in bolstering political and financial support for the adoption of academic standards, accountability measures, and data-driven improvement systems, and can help deliver resources that schools need to put improvement systems into place, Mr. Jones said.

Leaders of the newly merged group see the NCEA as an important conduit of information for businesses to enable them to expand their role in helping improve schools. The NCEA offers schools expertise in data-driven performance analysis and improvement.

Data Expertise

Formed only a year ago, the NCEA is a joint venture of the Education Commission of the States, a Denver-based research group for state policymakers; the University of Texas at Austin; and Just for the Kids Inc., an Austin-based nonprofit organization that launched the school improvement model used by the NCEA. In that model, data on student performance are used to assess schools’ shortcomings and design blueprints for improvement.(“Texas Group Makes News With Data,” Nov. 28, 2001.)

Bradford C. Duggan, the NCEA’s executive director, said the group posts its findings on Web sites to spark what it sees as a broad-based, problem-solving process on how to improve achievement. The data it assembled on five states and five urban districts are already posted at, and the best practices identified in some states are posted on the Just for the Kids site,

“Our purpose is to promote conversation and discussion,” Mr. Duggan said.

The merger represents both a closing chapter and a new beginning for the NAB, which was founded in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson and the automaker Henry Ford II to aid government in finding work for the unemployed.

In more recent years, it had evolved into an organization of 5,000 businesses focusing on ways to improve the nation’s schools. The NAB has advocated the introduction of incentives such as shared staff bonuses to drive improvements in achievement. (“More Incentives Would Drive Schools to Improve, Business Alliance Argues,” Feb. 16, 2000.)

The business alliance also undertook a major campaign to improve teacher quality. It released a report last year that called for better preparation and compensation for the profession. (“Businesses Seek Teacher ‘Renaissance,’” Feb. 7, 2001.)

Though the NAB will no longer exist, its work on K-12 education will continue under the NCEA’s banner, with some of its staff and board members joining the NCEA, Mr. Jones said. A small group of former NAB employees who have led the alliance’s education initiatives will open a new Washington office of the NCEA, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the November 13, 2002 edition of Education Week as Business Group Merges With Education Center


Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!

Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion We’re Facing a Looming Crisis of Principal Burnout
Caught in the crosshairs of a pandemic and rancorous partisan battles, many principals have never been more exhausted.
David E. DeMatthews
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration of burnt-out leader.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty
School & District Management What Teachers Value Most in Their Principals
For National Principals Month, we asked teachers what they love most about their principals. Here's what they had to say.
Hayley Hardison
1 min read
Illustration of job candidate and check list.
School & District Management How Staff Shortages Are Crushing Schools
Teachers are sacrificing their planning periods, students are arriving hours late, meals are out of whack, and patience is running thin.
11 min read
Stephanie LeBlanc, instructional strategist at Greeley Middle School in Cumberland Center, Maine.
Stephanie LeBlanc, an instructional strategist at Greely Middle School in Cumberland Center, Maine, has picked up numerous additional duties to help cover for staffing shortages at the school.
Ryan David Brown for Education Week
School & District Management With $102 Million in Grants, These Districts Plan to Train Principals With a Focus on Equity
The new grant program from the Wallace Foundation will help eight school districts work on building principals’ capacity to address equity.
11 min read
Image of puzzle pieces with one hundred dollar bill imagery