When the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was first introduced in 2001, the business community joined forces to advocate for and promote the law’s initial passage. With the law’s scheduled reauthorization in 2007, Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce started coordinating the business community’s involvement. More information on the Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber is below.
Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $4.5 trillion in annual revenues and more than 10 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and represent over 40 percent of all corporate income taxes paid. Collectively, they returned $112 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy in 2005. Roundtable companies give more than $7 billion a year in combined charitable contributions, representing nearly 60 percent of total corporate giving. They are technology innovation leaders, with $90 billion in annual research and development spending – nearly half of the total private R&D spending in the U.S.
Business Roundtable is committed to advocating public policies that improve education performance and workforce competitiveness in the United States. The connections between an excellent education system for all students to the competitiveness of our workforce, the vibrancy of our communities and the future of our democracy are clear. Specifically, the Roundtable: promotes the need for higher standards and higher student achievement in U.S. K-12 public schools and supports effective implementation of the landmark No Child Left Behind Act; supports state business coalitions and business leaders in advocating for improved state and national education performance at all levels—from pre-K through graduate school—with a focus on the policy changes needed to produce measurable results; encourages policies that foster a well-trained and productive U.S. workforce and advocates for critical education and workforce policies that affect the labor supply needed for innovation and economic growth, with an emphasis on: stronger science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in the U.S.; retention of foreign talent educated in the U.S.; and increased federal investment in basic research.
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. The Chamber represents 2800 state and local chambers of commerce and trade associations with membership in all 50 states. Many of the nation’s largest companies are active Chamber members, and more than 96% of its members are small businesses with 100 employees or fewer.The U.S. Chamber advocates as a national goal that American high school students be college ready and workforce ready, and pursues strategic education and workforce policies and programs focused on strengthening U.S. education performance and workforce competitiveness. The U.S. Chamber, through its Education, Employment and Training Policy Committee (EETC) and its Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), also leverages the influence of its state and local chambers and member companies to shape critical state and federal education and workforce policies, public debate, proven practices, and public-private partnerships, in particular focusing on educating and training an effective workforce. In addition, the U.S. Chamber endorses education improvement in K-12 and access to postsecondary education; underscores the need to generate more U.S. graduates well versed in math and science; and highlights the need to connect businesses with educators and communities. Furthermore, the U.S. Chamber advocates proposals that create a more rigorous curriculum in middle schools and high schools, advance lifelong learning and teacher quality initiatives, and address worker shortage issues.