The common-core standards have come under fire from an eclectic brew of political factions, but they continue to have an ally in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The president of that leading business organization, Tom Donohue, is expected on Wednesday morning to identify support for the standards as a major priority for his organization in 2014, in his annual “State of American Business” speech outlining the chamber’s priorities for the coming year.
“The severe educational and skills gap we face is a challenge that should unite us a nation and a city,” Donohue said statement in advance of the speech. “States should adopt and implement the common-core educational standards.”
Organizations such as the Business Roundtable and the chamber have urged private-sector leaders to stand behind the common core, which those two groups have argued are critical to preparing students for high-skill jobs, and important to steeling the U.S. economy against foreign competition.
Specifically, business groups have called for their members to fight not only at the national level, but also in their local communities, where they say myths about multi-state academic expectations (that they were produced by the federal government, for instance) are pervasive.
Donohue’s remarks will be webcast, and they’re scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
[UPDATE (11 a.m.): Donohue’s speech focused largely on issues outside of education—critiques of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama administration’s environmental policy, for instance, and promotion of free trade.
But he emphasized that the chamber “significantly supports” the common core (as does the administration) and said it’s “just the start” of what’s needed to fix the country’s education system.
The chamber president said mediocre graduation rates, and the inability of schools to produce students with skills needed to make it in demanding jobs hurts the American economy and dooms too many young people’s prospects.
“Tragically, [it] can be the perscription for permanent inequality,” Donohue said. Without improvements to the country’s school systems, he added, “Nothing else we do is going to set this country on the right course.”]
Correction: I’ve corrected this post to fix the spelling of Donohue’s name.