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Published in the Huffington Post

7/18/11

President Barack Obama hosts an education roundtable today with some of his top education staff and several of the nation's most prominent CEOs to encourage private investments in the country's educational programs.

Obama looks to leave the meeting this afternoon with at least $118 million in pledges. Among the meeting's attendees are the CEOs of Time Warner Cable, Intel, State Farm, Accenture and AT&T.

GlaxoSmithKline just announced a $10 million contribution over five years, in part to reduce drop-out rates in poor performing schools.

Bank of America will announce a $50 million donation over three years for programs that "bridge the achievement gap to post-secondary education completion and connect the underserved and unemployed," according to a statement released by the Department of Education Monday.

Microsoft Education will pledge $15 million for learning technology, including digital archives and game-based teaching.

The Nike School Innovation Fund is looking to pledge an additional $3 million on top of the $7 million it has already donated for Oregon's secondary school reforms. America's Promise Alliance Grad Nation Community Impact Fund aims to raise $50 million to improve graduation rates and prepare students for college and career paths.

"A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can outcompete countries around the world," Obama said in the statement. "America's business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That's why were working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child."

Corporate America has had a moderate hand in the nation's education initiatives in recent years. Obama's multi-phased $4.35 billion Race To The Top initiative that rewards states for various educational improvements, ranging from linking teacher assessment and student performance to increasing standards for teacher training. The latest guidelines for the third phase of the program pertaining to early education were released at the beginning of the month.

The Wall Street Journal reports that corporate donors funneled over $514 million into education funds in 2009.


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