Despite all-time highs in graduation rates, significant education gaps still persist. Together with our partners, the GE Foundation is helping to increase opportunities for students to attend college and lead successful careers by better preparing them for post-secondary education.
Since 2005, the Developing Futures program has focused its work in seven urban school districts, home to significant GE businesses. In Louisville, Ky.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Stamford, Conn.; Erie, Pa.; Atlanta, Ga.; New York City, N.Y. and Milwaukee, Wis., the GE Foundation has dedicated resources and corporate expertise to train administrators and teachers across the school districts and expand access to programs like Advanced Placement that prepare students for success in their pursuit of higher education and in their careers.
The GE Foundation is an official partner of the America’s Promise Alliance GradNation Campaign. Led by America’s Promise and launched in March 2010, GradNation is a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90% by 2020 with more students ready for college and the workforce.
America’s Promise and the GE Foundation will convene a series of 24 learning sessions throughout 2014 and 2015 to raise awareness about the importance of preparing all students for college and workforce success. Taking place across the U.S., these events will bring together community, business and education experts to examine current standards, successful programs and other resources young people need to thrive in and after high school. Also running throughout these discussions will be demonstrations of how business partnerships are supporting quality education.
The GE Foundation recognizes that effective teachers and leaders are critical to students’ success. Since 2005, the GE Foundation has led professional development initiatives serving more than 10,000 educators in the U.S. and around the world.
The GE Foundation’s professional development programs provide teachers and leaders with the skills and nationwide network they need to drive student achievement and enact system-wide improvements. The Developing Futures summer educator conference, now in its tenth year, convenes superintendents, teachers, principals and academic experts to share instructional strategies and best practices. The most recent conference in July 2014 brought together more than 300 educators from 32 states. At a district level, educators from the Developing Futures school districts have access to GE business leaders and world-class development courses, customized to meet their specific needs.
The GE Foundation has been recognized for its work with educators and has recently had the opportunity to share best practices with educators in Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.
Over the past several years, the U.S. has fallen behind other nations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. The U.S. ranks 25th out of 34 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in Math and 17th in Science. And, according to the Center for American Progress, the U.S. is currently experiencing a shortage of three million workers with an associate degree or higher, as well as a shortage of five million workers with technical certificates and credentials.
Recognizing this challenge, the GE Foundation is helping build capacity for quality STEM education at the school district level. One example of progress is in the Stamford Public School District in Connecticut, which has seen significant gains in student math and science scores and has cut the achievement gap in math almost in half. In Louisville, Ky., the Jefferson County Public Schools started professional learning communities for their teachers, invested in staff development and are reinvigorating K–12 math and science curricula.
The GE Foundation is partnering with NASA and the National Science Teachers Association to convene math and science educators and foster collaboration on STEM integration in schools across the U.S. The most recent conference in July 2014 convened more than 100 STEM educators for a week-long intensive training.
The Developing Futures program has brought together more than 1,450 business and community leaders to discuss the importance of supporting the transformation of K-12 public education in the U.S. The GE Foundation recently hosted its fourth annual Business and Education Summit, bringing together more than 600 participants—top educators, leading education non-profits and Fortune 500 corporations—from across the country. By convening education experts and business leaders, the GE Foundation hopes to spark solutions-oriented conversation, while underscoring the need for effective partnerships between business and education. The GE Foundation holds monthly calls with more than 200 business leaders to keep the conversation going year-round.