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August 12, 2003

Council's 'Engage New York' program will help business leaders advocate continuing school reform

The Business Council is developing a new initiative designed to unite New York's business community in an ongoing effort to sustain public-school education reform in New York.

The project is called "Engage New York." Its goal is to give business leaders information that can help them influence the debate on education reform around a common standards-based improvement agenda, said Margarito Mayo, The Council's director of quality, education, and training.

The Engage New York program is the brainchild of Bill Clark, a vice presidentof State Farm Insurance Companies. Program details were developed by the Education Task Force of The Council's Board of Directors, which Clark chairs.

"New York State is a leader in standards-based education, but we're now facing the hardest part of the challenge: staying on course as schools struggle to meet new requirements," Mayo said. "Businesses can and should help New York meet this challenge - by keeping the focus on student achievement, meeting standards, and measuring success with an objective, statewide system."

The Council is planning a series of one-day seminars as part of this initiative in different regions around the state. The first seminar is scheduled for Tuesday, September 9, at The Business Council's Albany headquarters.

Mayo said the seminars will highlight four key goals for education that businesses should understand and support: embracing higher standards; pursuing and recognizing school improvement; enhancing teacher quality; and increasing schools' focus on math, science, and technology.

The seminars will also focus on why high academic standards in public schools are important to businesses across the state.