March 2, 2001

Minority Business RoundTable Supports Call For Education Reform: Special Interest in Low-Income and Minority Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Minority Business Round-Table (MBRT) supports the call by the Business Coalition for Excellence in Education for federal efforts to raise student achievement, particularly in minority and low-income communities. The RoundTable is a member of the newly formed Coalition which released a set of principles for K-12 education reform on Monday (2/26/01). The Coalition also plans to work closely with Congress and the Administration on legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary School Education Act (ESEA).

Founded in 1999, Minority Business RoundTable is a membership organization for the CEOs of the nation's leading African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American businesses. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies serves as its Secretariat and public policy resource institution.

"The RoundTable will be working actively with the Business Coalition to ensure that American students, particularly those who have historically been left behind, are better prepared to face the challenges of the new economy and the changing workforce," said Eddie N. Williams, president and CEO of the Joint Center.

Minority-owned businesses have historically tended to hire minorities and low-income Americans, and therefore have a particular interest in ensuring that these students are prepared for the workforce. "With 90 percent of the population growth over the next 50 years projected to come from the minority population, our education system must do a better job of preparing minority students to meet the personal and professional challenges that await them in today's highly competitive workplace," said Robert L. Hatcher, CEO of the Chicago Truck Center, Inc. and chairman of the Minority Business RoundTable.

In addition to the goals outlined in the Coalition's K-12 principles, the RoundTable believes that specific attention must be paid to students to living in communities with high concentrations of poverty and the other social inequities disproportionately inflicted upon minorities.

"As CEO of a successful telecommunications business, it is important that our nation recognize the significant contributions that Hispanics and other racial minorities make to our economy," said Betty Manetta, CEO of Argent Associates Inc. and a MBRT member. "We need to prepare our 21st century workforce by focusing resources on our K-12 public education system and in particular, concentrating on closing the achievement gaps between white and minority students."

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, conducts research and analyses on public policy issues of concern to African Americans and other minorities, promotes their involvement in the governance process, and operates programs that create coalitions within the minority, business and other diverse communities.

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