Setting High Expectations for Education

By January 9, 2007General

January 8th marked the fifth anniversary of the enactment of No Child Left Behind, the ground-breaking legislation that sought educational improvement through accountability and testing at the local school district level. Numerous events accompanied the anniversary, including President Bush’s meeting with members of Congress to discuss future improvements.

At the New America Foundation’s headquarters here in Washington, NAM President John Engler participated in a panel discussion on voluntary national educational standards. Senator Chris Dodd, D-CT, led off the day by outlining a new bill he has introduced along with Representative Vernon Ehlers, R-MI, The Standards to Provide Educational Achievement for Kids (SPEAK).

As we’ve noted many times before, manufacturers face a terrible “skills gap,” as potential employees lack the basic skills to succeed in the modern workplace. Especially lacking are math and science skills, the foundations for careers in engineering, R&D, and all technically oriented jobs in manufacturing.

The event at the New America Foundation — also sponsored by The Fordham Foundation — prompted an interesting and thorough debate of the educational challenges facing America, its economy and its citizens. For more coverage, information on the Dodd-Ehlers bill, and to watch a full video of the presentations, please click here.