Key Players of the 1989 Education Summit

The 1989 education summit in Charlottesville, Va., gave momentum to what's known as the standards-based reform movement, and formed a big portion of the education legacy for many policymakers who took part.

The 1989 education summit in Charlottesville, Va. formed a big portion of the education legacy for many policymakers who took part.

Meet the Players →

The Key Players

George H.W. Bush
  • Role at Summit: As president of the United States, convened the event, after having pledged to be the "education president" during the 1988 campaign.
  • Post-Summit Highlights: Championed America 2000, an initiative inspired in part by the Charlottesville meeting that called for voluntary standards and test.

Bill Clinton
  • Role at Summit: Governor of Arkansas and co-chairman of the National Governors Association's education task force. Played a leading role in hammering out summit statement.
  • Post-Summit Highlights: As president of the United States from 1993 to 2001, helped further the summit's agenda through Goals 2000 initiative and the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, both of which furthered standards-based reform.

Michael Cohen
  • Role at Summit: Director of education policy at the National Governors Association. Played a key role in planning the summit and in helping to bring the governors and White House to a consensus on summit statement and the goals.
  • Post-Summit Highlights: Served in the Clinton administration as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education and as a special assistant to the president on education. Currently the president of Achieve, a nonprofit organization in Washington that helps states align their standards, assessments, and curricula with the demands of college and careers.

Roger B. Porter
  • Role at Summit: Served in President George H.W. Bush's White House as an assistant to the president for economic and domestic policy. Was one of the administration aides who planned the summit and helped write the resulting goals.
  • Post-Summit Highlights: As a top White House aide, worked on education and other issues. Currently a professor of business and government at Harvard University, where he teaches a course on the American presidency.

Roy Romer
  • Role at Summit: Participated as the governor of Colorado.
  • Post-Summit Highlights: Was the first chairman of the National Education Goals Panel, which was established to monitor the goals that followed the summit. Served as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District from 2000 until 2006. Served as the chairman for ED in '08, an effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation that sought to raise the profile of education in the 2008 election. Currently a special adviser to the College Board.

Terry Branstad
  • Role at Summit: Governor of Iowa and chairman of the National Governors Association.
  • Post-Summit Highlights: Served on the National Education Goals Panel. While Iowa governor, served as chairman of the Education Commission of the States in 1996 and 1997. Later served as president of Des Moines University. Became governor of Iowa again in 2011.

Photos by David J. Philip/AP-File, Brennan Linsley/AP, Ed Andrieski/AP-File, Charlie Neibergall/AP

Reporting & Analysis: Alyson Klein | Design & Production: Chienyi Cheri Hung, Deanna Del Ciello

A version of this article appeared in the September 24, 2014 edition of Education Week