The reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 comes at a time of significant economic and global change, and provides a critical opportunity for all levels of government to renew our commitment to high standards and partner together to strengthen education. In today’s competitive economy, our education system must work even harder to prepare students to be successful in work, life, postsecondary education and in an ever and rapidly changing world.
Our nation’s success in the global economy starts in the states. States foster and encourage innovation, support industry sector clusters and champion linkages between private firms, academic institutions, federal research labs and the public sector.
Preparing Americans to compete in a global economy is one of our most urgent challenges of the 21st century. Over the next eight years, occupations that require a postsecondary degree or credential will account for nearly half of all new jobs and one-third of total job openings.
Today’s U.S. economy is confronted with a new and remarkable paradox. The economy continues to grow and roughly two million new jobs were created each year since 2004; however, in the next decade, two-thirds of new jobs will require some postsecondary education beyond a high school degree.
The nation’s governors are concerned about the growing challenges facing both state and federal agencies in managing and protecting our natural resources. As the United States’ diverse population rapidly expands, governors nationwide are addressing the issue of how best to use America’s land while preserving community character and protecting environmental health.
The explosive growth of electronic commerce – more than 10 percent annually – means states’ sales tax bases are eroding and increasing states’ reliance on other revenue streams. The Marketplace Fairness Act supports the collection of taxes that are already owed to states, encourages competition and benefits consumers.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is in the midst of transforming our military to better address the needs and demands of the 21st century. In keeping with these goals, a number of bases across the nation are experiencing an enhancement of mission, an increase in training activity and defense operations, and an expansion in troop numbers through programs including Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Global Rebasing, “Grow the Force,” Joint Basing, as well as other force structure changes.
Governors serve as commanders-in-chief of their respective state’s National Guard forces. As the only military force that a governor can call upon to respond to disasters and other emergencies, the National Guard serves as a critical resource in emergency response and can quickly provide much-needed capabilities.
Federal school meal programs provide more than 31 million children with school lunches and more than 11 million children with school breakfasts each day. Schools participating in these programs get cash subsidies and donated commodities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve meals that meet federal requirements and they must offer free or reduced price lunches to eligible children. Schools can also be reimbursed for afterschool snacks served to children.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides states with funding to educate students with disabilities and mandates that states provide a free and appropriate public education and procedural safeguards for all students with disabilities, regardless of cost. IDEA (Part C) helps states provide intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities.
No fundamental tax reform can succeed unless it is an intergovernmental effort because decisions at the federal level have consequences for the states. A key issue for states in federal tax reform is safeguarding public financing—notably tax-exempt bonds—because it is the primary method to raise capital for a wide range of public projects.
Our nation’s success in the global economy starts in the states. State economies are increasingly global in terms of both markets and competition.