TITLE: Forum on Education and the Economy: Session II
SPEAKER: William J. Bennett, Various
EVENT DATE: 06/27/2008
RUNNING TIME: 135 minutes
Education reform has been a policy focus in the United States since "A Nation at Risk" was released in 1983. Despite the best of intentions and large investments by both the public and private sectors, we are slipping in comparison to our industrialized peers, placing 25th out of 30 in math and 21st in science on the 2006 PISA test. Our nation's high schools continue to graduate only 70 percent of students on time, and only half of those who graduate are prepared for college and the workforce. Yet because policymakers, educators and American families don't typically connect these warning signs to an imminent crisis, there is little urgency for bold reforms. We want to steer the debate about education reform to emphasize the impact a mediocre education has on the nation's economy.
The Library of Congress hosted a national, non-partisan policy forum to discuss the connection between education and the economy. Economic, educational and political experts examined data tracking the U.S. performance internationally that measure the skills needed to succeed in a global economy. The discussants also explored the current and future economic implications to the United States. How can we persuade Americans that continued poor educational performance has real economic consequences for our nation?
Following a keynote address by William J. Bennett, former education secretary, was a panel discussion by leading economists on the risks our nation runs if we do not address the crisis in education. Panelists were Eric Hanushek, Hoover Institution; Clive Belfield, Queens College; and Helen Ladd, Duke University.
Funding for the forum was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Speaker Biography: William Bennett served as secretary of education under President Ronald Reagan from 1985-1988. Afterwards, President George H. W. Bush appointed Bennett director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Bennett headed the National Endowment for the Humanities prior to becoming Secretary of Education. Bennett now hosts the "Morning America" radio show in Texas and is a political analyst for CNN. He is a Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute and chairman of Americans for Victory over Terrorism, a project dedicated to sustaining and strengthening public opinion for the war on terror. Bennett authored the best-selling "The Book of Virtues" and a two-part history series called "America: The Last Best Hope." Bennett also wrote "The Educated Child," about how to educate young children.