GE Foundation Developing Futures in Education program: A leader in U.S. education reform

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GE Foundation Developing Futures in Education program: A leader in U.S. education reform

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:00pm

CONTENT: Article

The United States lags behind many other developed nations a number of areas, including academic achievement, math and science proficiency, and education attainment. The challenge for GE and other U.S. businesses is recruiting a workforce ready to compete in the global economy. The GE Foundation has supported rigorous, internationally benchmarked education standards since 1989. 

“One of the biggest challenges facing our country is an education system that undermines its long-term competitiveness,” GE Vice President of Corporate Citizenship Bob Corcoran told Connecticut education, government and business leaders at a statewide forum hosted by the Connecticut Policy Institute at GE headquarters last week. “At current levels, the U.S. K-12 education system is not preparing our children to be college and career ready.  We need to support Connecticut’s commitment to implement new standards for an education that prepares our children to compete with the best in the world.”

Over 140 business leaders, educators, and political leaders attended the forum, which featured an address by Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. 

In his address, Governor Bush said U.S. educators should strive to compete with the best education systems in the world, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, and Finland.  “There is a soft bigotry of low expectations.  One place to start is to have higher expectations.  We need higher standards that are fewer, deeper and benchmarked to the world.  Everyone should have the chance to be successful.”

To provide a clear and consistent framework that prepares our children for college and career readiness, a state-led coalition developed the Common Core State Standards for College and Career Readiness (CCSS).  This effort was coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The CCSS have been adopted by 46 states for implementation by 2014. 

Governor Bush praised the GE Foundation’s efforts to advance education reform through the Common Core. He recently had the opportunity to see the GE Foundation’s work first hand at its annual Developing FuturesTM in Education Summer Conference. The conference was comprised of two concurrent events – a forum for more than 450 educators and a business convening of 160 business leaders. Many attendees at the forum were educators from the seven targeted urban school districts and their respective states where the GE Foundation supports a Developing Futures in Education program—Louisville, KY; Stamford, CT; Cincinnati, OH; Erie, PA; Atlanta, GA; New York, NY; and Milwaukee, WI – cities and states where GE maintains major operations.

The goal of the educators’ forum was to help prepare teachers for changes that will arise from the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. At the conference, educators from the seven districts and others from across the country, heard from leading experts on the CCSS, and participated in professional learning experiences. 

“I hope participants gained a deep understanding of how the CCSS will change their roles and practices, and also how they can access quality resources and work across districts and states to support implementation,” said Kelli Wells, Director, U.S. Education GE Foundation.

A two-day intensive dialogue took place on the support business can provide to states and districts to accelerate the change process needed to implement higher academic standards that ensure the college and career readiness of all students. 

Key points shared at the summer conference have been published in a white paper titled: “College and Career Readiness: How Business Can Support Core Standards and Help Rebuild Education.”

We invite you to learn more about the GE Foundation and the Developing Futures in Education work by visiting: