January 26th, 2007 04:50 EST
Secretary Spellings Meets with Business Leaders, Students, and Teachers in Chicago to Promote Education Priorities
Chicago — U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings kicked off a national dialogue today in Chicago with top business leaders, students, teachers, and school officials to promote Building on Results: A Blueprint for Strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act. The Secretary's visit to Chicago comes on the heels of President Bush's call in his State of the Union Address for Congress to reauthorize the law.
"Higher standards and greater accountability, more rigorous coursework for high school students, and innovative, new options and choices for families are the core components to ensuring that all students are able to learn and achieve," Spellings stated.
The Secretary's trip commenced with a visit to the Noble Street Charter High School, one of the highest-performing schools in Chicago, with more than 80 percent of its students attending college. Joined by Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Rufus Williams, president of the Chicago Board of Education and Mike Milkie, Superintendent of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, Spellings visited a physics lab and was treated to a school assembly where she delivered remarks and took questions from students.
According to the 2005 Nation's Report Card, Chicago students are improving in every subject and every grade. Students gained 12 percentage points in reading and 19 percentage points in math.
"In order to help struggling students, we must replicate proven, innovative strategies, and Noble Street is a model for others to follow," said Secretary Spellings.
"I'm proud to say that Chicago Public Schools has been raising standards and increasing accountability since 1995 when the mayor took over," said Duncan. "And under NCLB, we have experienced our highest ever ISAT scores and ACT scores that have reached their highest level since all students were required to take it."
Following the school visit, Spellings headed to the Illinois Business Roundtable where she met with executive officers of Illinois' leading businesses, including Ed Rust, chairman and CEO of State Farm Insurance Companies and co-chair of the Business Coalition for Student Achievement. The Secretary discussed the role the business community can play in reauthorizing the law and the effect NCLB will have on the 21st Century global economy.
"No one understands more clearly than the business community the competition our students and our nation faces from the realities of an ever-flattening, knowledge-based, global economy," said Spellings. "And No Child Left Behind helps businesses by ensuring students gain the skills they need to succeed."
"Community and business leaders must engage in the future of our nation's children and our education system to help ensure that students are graduating with strong reading and math skills and ready to enter college and the workforce," said Rust. "Today's students are tomorrow's leaders, and the quality of education our children receive directly impacts the success of businesses in America and the contributions they will make to society."
Next up, the Secretary will visit Atlanta where she will continue to rally and mobilize students and teachers, business leaders, and Americans on the grassroots level in support of reauthorization.
For the full text of Building on Results, please visit: http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/nclb/buildingonresults.html
A fact sheet is available at: http://www.ed.gov/news/opeds/factsheets/index.html?src=gu
Contact: Chad Colby or Rebecca Neale