A time for collaborative corporate action on education
By Brad Googins
Even with the financial crisis to handle, President Obama knows that improving our education system cannot wait until some sense of economic stability returns. On the contrary, the plight of education has reached a mission critical state and the time for corporations to step up has never been more urgent.
Judging from our conversations with companies across the spectrum, there is a high degree of frustration. The current approach by business, which resembles a fragmented and piecemeal attempt at finding solutions, has not contributed to any meaningful breakthrough in this enormously complex and challenging task of putting education back on track.
After listening to the growing frustration about finding a role for business that delivers significant impact in the educational arena, we agreed to host the upcoming New Orleans summit April 27-29 Meeting the 21st Century Challenge: A Summit on How Business Can Help Transform U.S. Education.
By now most everyone inside and outside the business community is well acquainted with the precipitous indicators of American education that continue to slide in a downward spiral. The frustration of companies whose economic success and sustainability is directly impacted by educational achievement here in the United States grows more and more palpable each year. There’s also a sense of futility building as we watch the situation unfold. Despite fairly active involvement by the business community, the depth of the dilemma and the challenge continue to grow. Solutions are in short supply, and the fragmented efforts by corporations and others to address educational issues have reached a stage where even seasoned veterans in this area are feeling fatigue, frustration and failure.
And so the summit is a call to the business community to put aside the narrow interests and preconceptions of the problem and re-examine new approaches and new solutions. New Orleans was chosen very purposely, and serves as a great host for this meeting. Having experienced an unimaginable storm and its aftermath, the region has moved through stages of shock, disbelief and despair. Out of this pain has emerged an opportunity for a rebirth of the city. It seems fitting for New Orleans to host a meeting of the corporate community to come together to discuss different perspectives and approaches and create a new dialogue that resets the corporate approach to education.
In this forum the business community will take stock of its successes and failures and give itself a score card on its impact and effectiveness in achieving education success. The business leaders will need to consider what new collaborations could and should look like, collaborations among and between businesses, and collaborations with other sectors. This will be a time to begin reimagining shared leadership, and to create new pathways for concerned and invested folks from the corporate and non-corporate worlds. It will be a time to look at scalable solutions and break away from business as usual.
The April summit presents a unique and timely opportunity for those in corporate America who are working and leading in addressing the challenges of education in their communities and across the country. They will be part of a remarkable group of leaders combining powers from across the country to create new beginnings and breathe a new spirit of revitalization. There is nothing more energizing than the possibility of new beginnings and exciting breakthroughs to solve one of our most challenging social problems.
Click here to learn more about the Business-Education Summit and to register.