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Cheryl A. Oldham
Cheryl A. Oldham is vice president of education policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is also senior vice president of the education and workforce program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Through events, publications, and policy initiatives—and drawing upon the Chamber’s extensive network of members—the education and workforce program connects the best minds in American business with the most innovative thinkers in education and training, helping them work together to preserve the strength of America’s greatest economic resource, its workforce.
Oldham has 20 years of experience in public policy development and implementation as well as in project management and government relations. Her previous experience includes serving for 8 years in President George W. Bush’s administration. In July 2008, the president designated Oldham as acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education while also serving as chief of staff to the under secretary of education. As chief of staff, Oldham was the senior adviser on policy and strategy and oversaw the coordination of the programs and policies for which the office was responsible. These included vocational and adult education, postsecondary education, and federal student aid.
Thirteen years. That is the last time Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known in its current form as ‘No Child Left Behind.’ And, thirteen years later, everyone agrees the law is in desperate need of modifying, updating, and improving.
Just six months after defending the Core Standards at a National Governors Association meeting, Oklahoma's Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that will require Oklahoma to revert back to the old educational standards. And with a stroke of the pen, a generation of Oklahoma kids will be lost in the chaos.
As the Obama Administration considers comments on the proposed gainful employment regulation, it seems worthwhile to tell the story of students who are able to take advantage of flexible, comparatively priced programs that help improve opportunity for growth in their current job or explore a new career path.
During a Senate Budget Committee meeting yesterday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan displayed what some might describe as chutzpah as he claimed the department’s proposed gainful employment regulations were in fact designed to help the for-profit sector, not “single out” or punish them.
As our country faces an increasingly widening skills gap, now hardly seems the time to strip at-risk students of opportunities for educational equality.