Marc Tucker, founder, president and CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy, has spearheaded some of the most important education reforms of the last 25 years. He first became a major influence on education in the 1970s while he was director of the U.S. Department of Education’s policy research office. He worked on issues such as education equity, education finance, and assessment and instructional practices, and he frequently testified before Congress. Curious about the relationship between the nation’s education performance and the changing world economy, Tucker organized the Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession. He wrote the task force’s influential report A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century, which led to the creation of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In 1988, Tucker established the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE). He later directed the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce and was the lead author of the follow-up reportTough Choices or Tough Times. The report issued an urgent call for upgrading education and training in the U.S., including a major restructuring of the nation’s educational priorities to focus on high standards for all students. Tucker’s influence has solidified through his leadership of other major initiatives and school reform projects, including the National Alliance for Restructuring Education, America’s Choice, the National Institute of School Leadership, the Center on International Education Benchmarking and Excellence for All. His publications garner national and international attention. At the request of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Tucker recently produced the report Strong Performers and Successful Reformers: Lessons from PISA for the United States. He also edited Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems, providing answers to the question of how the United States can compete with top-performing countries such as Canada, Finland and Singapore. Over the last four decades, Tucker’s work has reached lawmakers, education leaders and educators around the world with his vision for an equitable education system capable of giving all students a high-quality education. For his lifetime of dedication to improving the lives of children, Marc Tucker epitomizes the spirit of James Bryant Conant and is deserving of this year’s award.

 PUBLISHED: November 3, 0201

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