Leadership and ActionAd
BHEF brings together an extraordinary coalition of corporate, academic and foundation members to influence public policy and inspire other corporate, academic and foundation leaders to act.
BHEF members are driving change "on the ground." They develop, adopt and promote best practices and strategic approaches among corporate, education and foundation leaders, nationally and locally. They also advocate for policy changes at the federal, state and local levels.
Recent Advocacy Efforts
Two important processes are unfolding in Washington and in states across the country as they relate to P-12 education: the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and the development of common state standards. The latter, an effort led by the National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, would replace the current patchwork of uneven state standards. BHEF will work with other business groups to:
- Ensure that reauthorization of ESEA restructures current law, such that it will result in more students graduating from high school college- and work-ready
- Encourage states to adopt the Common Core Standards' college-ready math and English standards, develop and adopt common science standards thereafter, and utilize common assessments to measure progress against these standards.
Insights from the development of BHEF's U.S. STEM Education Model, created by Raytheon and donated to BHEF in 2009, demonstrate that interventions at key points in the STEM education pipeline can produce significant increases in the number of students who graduate from high school interested and proficient in STEM. They also indicate that investments in strengthening STEM undergraduate education can yield high and immediate returns. Consequently, BHEF will work with its partners to:
- Promote the highest leverage investments in STEM education that maximize the number of STEM-capable students and workers, including activities and policies that increase:
- opportunities for all students to "do STEM"
- student awareness and interest in STEM
- recruitment, retention and renewal of highly effective teachers
- undergraduate persistence in STEM disciplines
- Raise awareness and change public attitudes about the importance of STEM education
Troubling trends point to stagnating educational attainment rates in the U.S. population. The impact of capacity and financing constraints in higher education will likely further contribute to lower baccalaureate attainment by restricting students' access choice. BHEF is uniquely positioned to:
- Promote programs and policies to increase associate and baccalaureate degree attainment in support of workforce needs
- Assess the ability of American higher education to maintain its world leadership, in light of major challenges, including capacity and resource constraints; and explore potential solutions.
Given the challenges facing graduate education in the United States, including the impact of increased global competition for the best graduate students, especially in STEM disciplines, BHEF will:
- Support increased funding for federal agencies (e.g., NSF, NIH and DOE) that support graduate education, including support for R&D infrastructure and for students that contribute to the innovation workforce
- Ensure that graduate education is responding to current and future needs of the innovation workforce.