Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

For Release — November 17, 2010

Business Council, U.S. Chamber and Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber host Waiting for "Superman"

ALBANY— The Business Council of New York State Inc., and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce are pleased to host the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Foundation today's stop in Albany as part of a 12-city tour to bring together business and opinion leaders to view and discuss the groundbreaking movie on K-12 public education reform, Waiting for “Superman.”

Waiting for “Superman,” a film by Davis Guggenheim, the Academy Award-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, from Paramount Vantage and Participant Media in association with Walden Media, is playing in theatres across the country. It tells the story of five children as they make their way through America's failing public education system.

“This movie paints a dismal picture of the state of our public education system and the children who endure its effects,” said Liz Reilly, executive director of special initiatives for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The question is what do we do to make sure that people take the emotion evoked from the film and turn it in to action?  It's up to all of us, education and business leaders alike, to push for education reform that achieves greater accountability, better teachers, and higher standards or our children will continue to wait.”

These events will bring together business, opinion, and education leaders to discuss the actionable steps that can be taken to advance public K-12 education reform. Events will also take place in Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Durham, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, San Diego, St. Louis, Tallahassee, and Trenton.

The Chamber is using the film as a catalyst to discuss the crisis in the nation's schools, the forces standing in the way of needed change, and the steps toward reform in each of the 12 communities. The Chamber is also providing local leaders with a toolkit to drive effective education reform initiatives in their communities in three key areas: great teachers and leaders, more innovation, and better data—suggesting important questions to ask of local education leaders and key actions to take that can help drive improved academic achievement for all students.

“This film provides an opportunity for the business community to focus on the current investments New York makes in education and think about how it can help influence those investments for better outcomes,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. “We continue to spend more per pupil than almost every other state in the nation. Our per pupil spending is 67 percent more than the national average—still, the graduation rate in New York State lags behind other states. Money can't be the issue when we pay that much for education and get such poor results.”

The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that the lifetime earnings in New York for the 2009 class of dropouts alone would total more than $21.1 billion. If New York graduated all students ready for college, the state would save almost $192.1 million a year in community college remediation costs and lost earnings. In addition, if the state increased its male high school graduation rate just 5%, New York's economy would see a combination of crime-related savings and additional revenue of about $457 million each year. Significantly reducing dropouts each year would multiply these positive outcomes.

“The Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber is committed to the economic vitality of the region, and education is key to realizing that goal,” said Mark Eagan, president and CEO of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We're pleased to engage the business community in these important discussions about ways to improve our education system, increase graduation rates, and prepare students for future employment and career opportunities.”

The National Chamber Foundation's promotion of Waiting for Superman is partly supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Daniels Fund, a Colorado-based foundation established by Bill Daniels, a cable television pioneer known for his generous support of innovative causes.
The National Chamber Foundation (NCF), a non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is dedicated to identifying and fostering public debate on emerging critical issues. We provide business and government leaders with insight and resources to address tomorrow's challenges.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.