Press Release

U.S. Chamber Report Card on Public Education

Says States are Failing our Students, Risking our Future

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s report on state educational effectiveness shows that America’s K–12 schools are failing their students and putting America’s future competitiveness at risk.
“We are not making the grade when it comes to preparing students for their future,” said Tom Donohue, Chamber president and CEO. “Without real leadership in education reform, our economic future and prosperity are at risk. If companies were run like many education systems, they wouldn’t last a week.”

Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Effectiveness graded all 50 states and Washington, DC, on nine broad categories including academic achievement, return on investment, truth in advertising, rigor of standards, and data quality.  The report and accompanying recommendations for reform were prepared with John Podesta, CEO of the Center for American Progress and former Clinton White House chief of staff, and Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute. They are available online at  

“The business community cannot sit on the sidelines while another generation loses its chance at the American dream,” said Donohue. “Young people cannot succeed without a first-rate education and we cannot succeed as a nation without them.

“We must immediately ensure that our students have effective teachers, that all schools use rigorous standards, and that education systems are innovative and employ sound management principles. Without these steps, the wage gap will become a chasm.”

Education is critical to the American dream. Unemployment rates for those without a high school degree are 8.1% compared with 2.2% for college graduates. Yet, approximately 40% of all U.S. college students take at least one remedial course, and most students who take remedial courses never earn a college degree.

“The quality of United Stares public education must be significantly improved for all students and most especially for those students who historically have received lesser educational opportunities—students of color, with special needs and/or from low-income families,” said John D. Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.  “We need every student to be a successful learner if we are to maintain a thriving economy in which everyone contributes and succeeds.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

Click here to read the full report and see state-by-state grades

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