Business and Education Take Up Improvement of Teaching
Keller, Education Week, January 21, 2003
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Louis V. Gerstner Jr., the former IBM head who co-chaired a
prominent national effort to advance academic standards, has
now turned his attention to better teaching.
Mr. Gerstner is slated to announce this week, several weeks
after stepping down as the chairman of the International
Business Machines Corp., that he will lead a new, nonprofit
group, the Teaching Commission. Organizers say it's aimed at
formulating and promoting the best policies for raising
teacher quality in the public schools.
Joining Mr. Gerstner as members are prominent leaders from
education, business, and government, including San Francisco
schools chief Arlene Ackerman, former Gov. Roy E. Barnes of
Georgia, and W. James McNerney, the chairman and chief
executive officer of the 3M Co.
When it comes to recruiting and retaining the best teachers,
Mr. Gerstner said in a statement, "we need a road map and the
political will to act. This is the objective of the Teaching
The launch of the group comes as concern about an undersupply
of teachers intersects with a new emphasis on the importance
of teachers to higher student achievement. That focus is
reflected in the federal "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001,
which calls for a highly qualified teacher in every classroom
and authorizes nearly $3 billion to address teacher quality.
Mr. Gerstner, 60, whose public service in education goes back
more than three decades, was the chairman and chief executive
officer of IBM from 1993 until last year, when he announced
his retirement. This month, he took over as the chairman of
the Carlyle Group, a well-connected international-investment
company based in Washington.
From 1999 to 2002, he co-chaired Achieve, a nonprofit group
that he and other business leaders and governors founded to
promote higher student achievement through academic standards.
And under Mr. Gerstner, IBM established Reinventing Education,
a program that helps states and districts use the resources of
the computer giant to enhance student learning.
R. Gaynor McCown, a former senior vice president of Edison
Schools Inc. and adviser to President Clinton, has been tapped
as the executive director of the Teaching Commission, which
will be supported by private donations and have its
headquarters in New York City.
Ms. McCown said the commission's first task would be "a
synthesis of the existing research looking at the best
[teacher-workforce] practices to be found at the school,
district, and state level." The synthesis will use both the
experiences of other professions and other nations as points
of comparison, she added.
The commission expects to make policy recommendations in March
of next year, followed by a push to get them accepted.
Other commission members include: former first lady Barbara
Bush; Philip M. Condit, the chairman and CEO of the Boeing
Co.; Sandra Feldman, the president of the American Federation
of Teachers; Matthew Goldstein, the chancellor of the City
University of New York; and Vartan Gregorian, the president of
the Carnegie Corporation of New York.