Napolitano Launches Task Force To Renew Public Education

WASHINGTON – The Institute for America’s Future and the Center for American Progress today announced the formation of a national task force to ensure excellence in public education. At a Washington luncheon, two of the task force co-chairs outlined a plan to engage business, public policy and community leaders in a series of major public hearings across the country. The hearings are designed to help formulate a concrete strategy for renewing America’s public schools, many of which are still operating based on the needs of the 1950s.

“We are trying to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s economy with yesterday’s ideas,” said Gov. Janet Napolitano, D-Ariz., co-chair of the task force. “Our school system was designed in the early 20th century and hasn’t seen significant changes in more than a generation.”

In addition to Napolitano, the education task force is co-chaired by Philip Murphy, Senior Director of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, historian and former DC School Board member Roger Wilkins.

The task force noted that the Chamber of Commerce has predicted that approximately five million jobs will be left unfilled at the end of this decade because our schools do not provide students the preparation they need to work in these positions.

“America’s next biggest economic threat looms in our schools. We need to ensure that our children have the skills that they need to fill the jobs of the future.” Murphy said. “The task force will think outside the box in order to create a new vision for public education in the United States so we can maintain our position as the leading world economy.”

Robert Borosage, President of the Institute for America’s Future, joined with John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, to set up the task force.

“We are going to develop a blueprint for systemic change that can help remake our public schools,” said Borosage. “We have a responsibility to ensure that every child has the tools needed to succeed.”

Podesta said the task force will develop innovative ideas to meet today’s education challenges.

“Today, we’re taking on what may be the toughest battle facing this country — and it’s one we simply can’t afford to lose. It requires us to not only ask new questions, but to also question some of the old answers,” said Podesta.

The task force will document challenges facing public schools and examine a wide array of proposed solutions, from reorganizing schools, classrooms and curricula to rearranging the school day and the school year. They will begin with an examination of early education. They will look for innovative new designs for the outdated K-12 system. The task force also will look for effective ways to expand access to at least two years of postsecondary education for every child.

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**NOTE: Remarks by IAF President Robert L. Borosage from the education task force event are available online for download. Click here to listen to an audio recording from the event.

Media representatives interested in more information about the initiative should contact Toby Chaudhuri at 202-955-5665 or chaudhuri@ourfuture.org.**