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Nationally Recognized Education Reformer, Geoffrey Canada to Speak to Cedar Valley Business Leaders & Educators

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, in partnership with FranklinCovey’s 2015 Leader in Me Symposium, invites business leaders and educators to an opportunity to synergize as author and children’s advocate Geoffrey Canada brings a keynote address on education reform. Mr. Canada’s speech is the keynote presentation of the FranklinCovey’s 2015 Leader in Me Symposium.

The presentation will take place on April 24, 2015, at 2:30PM in Lang Hall Auditorium on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls.  The cost for the event is $25.00. Registrations for the keynote event are being taken through the Alliance & Chamber website, cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling the Alliance & Chamber at 319-232-1156.

The opportunity to hear Canada’s presentation is made possible through Leader Valley, a talent development initiative of the Alliance & Chamber. Leader Valley’s primary focus is implementation of Leader in Me across school districts in the Cedar Valley. The Leader in Me, based on the Steven CCovey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is creating leadership cultures in schools and instilling 21st Century soft skills of effectiveness in Cedar Valley students. The unprecedented scope and success of the Cedar Valley initiative has drawn attention from FranklinCovey who chose this area for one of 18 regional symposiums. Symposiums are traditionally held in larger cities. Cedar Valley Leader in Me schools will be showcased to educators from around the Midwest during the three day event at the University of Northern Iowa with tours and demonstrations across the Cedar Valley April 22-24.

For more information about the Leader in Me Symposium, visit www.theleaderinme.org/events/symposium. You can also learn more by contacting Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling (319)232-1156 or by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

The Alliance & Chamber is taking registration for Geoffrey Canada’s keynote session only. Registration to this session does not provide access to any other portions of the Leader in Me Symposium. To register for the Iowa Symposium, please visit http://www.theleaderinme.org/events/symposium.

 

 

 

About Geoffrey Canada

In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.

Since 1990, Canada has been the President and Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which The New York Times Magazine called “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.” In October 2005, Canada was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News and World Report.

The work of Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media. Their work has been featured on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, CBS This Morning, The Charlie Rose Show, and NPR’s On Point, as well in articles in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, USA Today, and Newsday. Most recently, Canada can be seen prominently featured in the Davis Guggenheim documentary Waiting for Superman.

Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, he was able to succeed academically, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and a Master’s in Education from the Harvard School of Education. After graduating from Harvard, Canada decided to work to help children who, like himself, were disadvantaged by their lives in poor, embattled neighborhoods.

 

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The Business Case for Education Reform

By John Stineman, Executive Director, Iowa Chamber Alliance

The 2013 legislative session presents many opportunities for business —  property tax reform, economic development incentives, transportation infrastructure to name just a few issues that perennially top the agenda of Iowa’s businesses and economic development community.  Standing atop these important issues is education reform.

Education?

Yes, business considers education reform to be at least as important as the other core issues within our policy agendas.

The fact of the matter is that Iowa’s once vaunted public education system is no longer as competitive as it was just half a generation ago.

It’s not so much that Iowa has gone backward as much as it is that the rest of the country has improved at a far greater pace.  We used to be at or near the top and now dwell in the lower end of the middle of the pack.

From a strictly business perspective, we must address education reform because of Iowa’s growing skills gap.  Today in Iowa about 18% of available jobs are considered to be “low skill,” but about 38% of the available Iowa workforce is classified as “low skill.”  Middle skill job openings represent half of all open positions in Iowa, but only one-third of available workers are considered to be middle skill.

The skills gap is real, it is growing, and, unfortunately, our education system today is not geared to address it.

Beyond the immediate workforce needs, consider our education outcomes today.  36% of the “Class of 2012” that went on to higher or vocational education after high school required some sort of remedial education after high school.  This is stark evidence we are not systematically equipping our kids with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed after high school.

Of course, it’s not just about the skills gap or what kind of access employers need to qualified workers.

It’s about Iowa’s kids.  It’s about our kids and grandkids.

We’ve all chosen to live in Iowa, to raise our families here.  Making sure our kids have access to a quality education that will help prepare our kids to compete in a global economy and pursue their dreams is among our most important duties.

That’s why education reform is so important.

The reforms proposed by the Governor and now being vetted by the Iowa House of Representatives are a solid start on turning the tide for Iowa’s schools.  The reforms bring with them substantive changes that will fuel teacher leadership from mentor teachers and teacher leaders to drive innovation and energy into subject matter teachers.

The proposal elevates the profession of teaching – increasing first year pay and providing a longer student teaching period so new teachers can hit the ground running when given their own classroom.

The reform proposal expands online learning opportunities by bringing students from across Iowa together to learn online from Iowa teachers in districts that offer subjects not offered in other districts.

Teacher accountability is also important.  A statistic often cited at the Capitol is that 98% of Iowa teachers receive favorable reviews.  While there are many, many quality teachers across Iowa, it is simply not realistic to believe that only two in every 100 are in need of improvement.  Evaluations must include student performance as well as peer reviews and other measures.

The Iowa Chamber Alliance is supportive of the reforms proposed and interested in other ideas that will help improve Iowa’s schools as well.  We are hopeful partisan differences and political arguments can be set aside so that meaningful reform can be achieved.

There is simply too much at stake for us not to succeed in improving our schools.  It truly is the most important thing we can do this session.

For more information, please contact Iowa Chamber Alliance Executive Director, John Stineman, at (515) 226-1492 or john@iowachamberalliance.com.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is an active member of the Iowa Chamber Alliance. Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust is the current Chair of ICA board of directors. Steve Firman, Alliance & Chamber Director of Gov’t Relations is also on its board.

 

 

 

Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees