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August 15, 2016

MAC spends summer steeped in education policy

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) hosted a gathering of education policy experts during a late July meeting in Chicago.  Attendees, including MAC's Tim Cairl, represented chambers from across the country to discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Congress passed ESSA and President Obama signed it into law late last year.  The new law replaces the controversial No Child Left Behind program and state's are now tasked with developing implementation plans.

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Chamber representatives were provided ample opportunity to examine all facets of the new law, ranging from school funding, to accountability, to school choice.  The Foundation also invited representatives from a variety of state and national civil rights and education organizations to join the discussion facilitated by USCCF.  Ideas were shared about how to engage local leaders and help shape ESSA implementation over the course of the next eight to ten months. Georgia groups in attendance include the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.  National Council of La Raza, the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Education Trust were among the national groups represented.

The MAC team forged new partnerships and brought back useful information to share with local policy and business leaders. We look forward to working together as Georgia develops implementation standards that promote flexibility and accountability within school systems across the state. In early August, the Metro Atlanta Chamber joined the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) at the Coalition Support Network (CSN) annual meeting in Colorado.  Achieve, Inc., a national education reform organization, convened the gathering to address education reform. MAC, in concert with GPEE, utilizes data and training from CSN to advance the work of the Georgia Better Standards Coalition.  The coalitions is a state network of organizations committed to high standards and better testing for all Georgia’s students.

CSN_ColoradoGroupPicDuring the two day retreat, various state representatives shared best practices on topics ranging from innovative community outreach programs to improved testing models for states.  Brainstorming sessions were also facilitated.  Attendees exchanged ideas on forward-thinking policies around student achievement, school accountability, innovative curriculum and community engagement. MAC staff and GPEE plan to employ these practices and ideas as they work with  local school districts in developing innovative models and outreach programs to improve student achievement.