FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 17, 2013
POINT CLEAR — Former State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton and former State Rep. Jay Love were announced as the leaders of the Business and Education Alliance (BEA), a new, non-profit education reform foundation that was unveiled at the Business Council of Alabama’s annual Governmental Affairs Conference on Saturday.
“Business depends upon a qualified and well-educated workforce in order to fill the 21st Century jobs that Alabama is attracting, but in many areas of the state, schools are in need of improvement and measures of their effectiveness are often lacking,” Morton said. “Rather than creating a conflict between the business community and public education, the Business Education Alliance will work to unite the two so that students and parents are better served, our economy is improved, and Alabama employers are guaranteed the trained and effective workforce they need in order to remain here.”
Morton said the BEA will provide objective research and support for proven and innovative education programs such as Alabama’s First Class voluntary pre-k program, Reading Initiative, Math-Science-and-Technology Initiative, ACCESS Distance Learning, and 21stcentury workforce training. In addition, the group will advocate for the implementation of new and needed education reforms, such as public charter schools and expanded school choice options.
In order to achieve these goals, Morton said the BEA will create working relationships and build consensus among state business leaders, public education professionals, lawmakers, and other elected officials and interested parties across the state. In recent years, education leaders such as State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice and Community College Chancellor Mark Heinrich have encouraged a partnership between business and education, and the BEA will re-enforce and complement these efforts among others, Morton said.
Love, who served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Education budget writing committee before retiring from his three-term legislative career earlier this summer, said working with the BEA will allow him to continue pushing for the needed school reforms he promoted while a member of the Legislature.
“My service as chairman of the budget committee taught me the importance of maximizing the public education results we achieve in return for the almost $6 billion we invest in our schools annually,” Love said. “If a student leaves school without being prepared for the high-paying, long-lasting jobs that Alabama is currently attracting, it hurts them, their families, and the state’s future economic prospects.”
Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary said the vision of creating an alliance between business and education just came to him because it simply makes sense.
“We support the BEA’s desire to be both pro-business and pro-education because, in the end, both communities share a common goal – propelling Alabama into a position of national and international leadership in economic development and education excellence.”
Canary said the business community is fully behind the stated mission of the BEA and will be a strong partner as the work commences to turn what was once a dream into reality.
Morton will serve as the chairman and president of the BEA and fill the role of expert on public education issues. While serving as state superintendent of education from 2004 to 2011, Morton shepherded many of the programs that helped Alabama students earn top rankings in reading and math scores. Prior to his serving as local superintendent of the Sumter County and Sylacauga City school systems, he began his decades-long public education career as a classroom teacher.
Love, who will assist the BEA with its fundraising and coalition-building efforts, previously served in the Alabama House of Representatives where he helped write three spending plans as budget chairman that funded vital K-12 and higher education programs without the need for proration. Love has had a long and successful career as a small business owner and franchisee in the Montgomery, Alabama community.
For more information on the Business Education Alliance visit www.BEAalabama.org
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly one million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
Contact: Nathan Lindsay (334) 834-6000