NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Work Of Achieve Inc.

December 8, 2000

IBM chairman Louis Gerstner Jr. and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) are co-chairmen of an organization called Achieve Inc., and they are calling attention to its activities and goals.

Citing the recent announcement that American eighth-graders fell behind their global counterparts in the Third International Math and Science Study, they write: "Fifty blue-ribbon commissions and sets of proposals would waste more time and a lot more money." The problem of American students' unimpressive performance can better be addressed, they believe, by a more hands-on approach.

Here's how Achieve Inc. would do it:

  • The nonprofit organization, created by governors and corporate leaders, has fostered a collaboration called Math Achievement Partnership.
  • Eleven states are pooling their resources and working with mathematicians and educators to determine what children should know before they enter high school.
  • To make that determination, they are consulting with educators in top-performing nations -- and expect to make those findings public early next year.
  • Next, the partnership will develop more rigorous lessons in math, develop better training and support for teachers, and reach a common measure for comparing results annually -- not every four years.

The partnership is open to any state that wants to join.

Source: Louis V. Gerstner Jr. (IBM) and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson, "The Problem Isn't the Kids," New York Times, December 8, 2000.


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