Margaret Spellings, U.S. Secretary of Education—Biography
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"We cannot prepare students for the global economy if we don't get them to grade level first."
— Secretary Margaret Spellings

Margaret Spellings is the U.S. Secretary of Education. As the first mother of school-aged children to serve as Education Secretary, Spellings has a special appreciation for the hopes and concerns of American families.

Secretary Spellings is working to ensure that every young American has the knowledge and skills to succeed in the 21st century. She has partnered with states to implement and enforce the No Child Left Behind Act, which commits our schools to bringing all students up to grade level or better in reading and math by 2014. The law has led to rising test scores and shrinking achievement gaps in states across the country.

Secretary Spellings has been a leader in reform to make education more innovative and responsive. She supported teachers with new financial incentives for gains in student achievement and parents with new educational choices and options. She announced new rules to ensure that students with disabilities and English language learners are educated to the highest standards. She also proposed a landmark Plan for Higher Education that would improve accessibility, affordability and accountability.

Secretary Spellings believes we must not retreat from the world in the face of increased competition. She led the effort to pass President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative to strengthen math and science instruction and encourage high schools to offer more rigorous and advanced coursework. She worked to implement Academic Competitiveness and National SMART grants, which are providing millions of dollars to low-income students who major in math, science, or critical foreign languages.

Prior to her tenure as Education Secretary, Spellings served as Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, where she helped create the No Child Left Behind Act and crafted policies on education, immigration, health care, labor, transportation, justice, housing, and other elements of the President's domestic agenda. Previously, Spellings worked for six years as Senior Advisor to Governor George W. Bush with responsibility for developing and implementing the Governor's education reforms and policies. From the White House and the Statehouse to the school board and college campus, Spellings has been involved with education policy at every level.

Born in Michigan, Spellings moved with her family at a young age to Houston, Texas, where she attended public schools. She graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor's degree in political science.

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Last Modified: 06/02/2008