The Iowa Business Council’s out-going chairman suggests education reform should focus on making "world class" students — rather than "world class" schools. Max Phillips, regional president for Qwest, says Iowa’s future growth and prosperity depend upon not only government reform but "transformation" of the state’s education system.
"A concerted and sustained effort in both of these areas will be required by all if Iowa’s business community is to remain a viable force in today’s global marketplace," Phillips says. The Iowa Business Council is made up of the 19 largest businesses in the state and the three state universities.
"No doubt about it, our economy is facing enormous challenges right now," Phillips says. "But in prosperous times or in bad, the same fundamental question remains to be acted upon: Are we pursuing the right courses of action from an investment and policy perspective to rebuild and maintain positive growth patterns in Iowa five, ten, 20 years down the road?"
According to Phillips. most Iowa students enter a "time warp" when they go to school. Phillips says students at every grade level need to have access to the latest technology. "Increasingly education serves as the fault line between those who will and will not prosper in the 21st century, where technology will dominate as never before," Phillips says. "The new ‘average’ worker will be asked to competently apply basic skills in ever more creative and innovative business and market environments."
The Iowa Business Council is calling for a "cohesive" master plan for Iowa education which is more than "cosmetic," and gets rid of "disjointed" programs and mandates. Phillips made his comments earlier this week during an Iowa Business Council meeting in Des Moines.