September 19, 2005
Contacts: Stephanie Babyak or Jane Glickman|
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today announced the formation of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The new commission is charged with developing a comprehensive national strategy for postsecondary education that will meet the needs of America's diverse population and also address the economic and workforce needs of the country's future.
Speaking at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, Spellings said, "It is time to examine how we can get the most out of our national investment in higher education. We have a responsibility to make sure our higher education system continues to meet our nation's needs for an educated and competitive workforce in the 21st century."
Former North Carolina governor James B. Hunt joined Spellings at the UNC event and will serve on the new 19-member commission, along with university presidents, CEOs, policymakers, and researchers.
Spellings said the commission will engage students and families, policymakers, business leaders, and the academic community in a national dialogue about all key aspects of higher education. Through public hearings to be held around the country, the commission will attempt to answer questions such as: What skills will students need to succeed in the 21st century? How can we make sure America stays the world's leader in academic research? And, how can we make sure opportunities for quality higher education and best jobs are open to all students?
Spellings noted that the achievement gap is closing and test scores are rising among our nation's younger students, due largely to the high standards and accountability measures called for by the No Child Left Behind Act. More and more students are going to graduate ready for the challenges of college, she said, and we must make sure our higher education system is accessible and affordable for all these students.
"We should send students a clear message: If you work hard, you can go to college-regardless of how much money your parents make," Spellings concluded. "I hope parents, students, and community members will take an active role in the commission's work. We all have a big stake in the outcome."
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Note to Editors: A list of commission members is attached.
Chairman of the Board, President and CEO
Executive Vice President for Innovation and Technology
University Professor of Science and Engineering
Director, The Millennium Project
University of Michigan
Corporate Vice President
Worldwide Public Sector
The Education Trust
The Honorable James B. Hunt, Jr.
Chairman, James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy
Former Governor of North Carolina
Chairman and CEO
Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Western Governor's University
Former Chairman of the Board of Regents, University of Texas System
Charlene R. Nunley
The Honorable Arthur J. Rothkopf
Senior Vice President and Counselor to the President
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
President Emeritus, Lafayette College
Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Administration
The Boeing Company
The Honorable Louis Sullivan
President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine
Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Sara Martinez Tucker
President and CEO
Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Adjunct Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Distinguished Ohio University Professor of Economics
Charles M. Vest
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
American Council on Education
Chair and Professor
The Learning Alliance for Higher Education
University of Pennsylvania
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