In the current climate, global standards for education are rising, and America must be able at least to keep pace, if not to lead. While the past three decades have shown a gradual improvement in many indicators of average U.S. student performance, the time has come to push for transformative progress.

A promising new approach, Collective Impact (CI), is a community endeavor that addresses fundamental weaknesses in the U.S. education ecosystem. Our report, Business Aligning for Students: The Promise of Collective Impact, is designed for business leaders who what to better understand:
  • why education ecosystem change is essential;
  • what Collective Impact is and what it might achieve; and
  • how they can get involved in existing Collective Impact initiatives or start new ones in their communities.

This report is based on interviews with 70 business and CI leaders and the first national survey of CI initiatives leaders and business participants. It builds on earlier research HBS conducted in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Boston Consulting Group that brought business and education leaders together to better understand best practices for partnerships between business leaders and educators to accelerate improvement in America’s schools.

The research collaboration also produced three other major reports:

Our research identified three high-leverage ways in which business leaders can engage with educators to bring about significant change for the better: laying the policy foundations for education, scaing up proven innovation that boost student outcomes, and reinventing the local education ecosystem in cities and regions.
In addition, to understand educators’ perceptions on competitiveness, BCG and HBS conducted the first-ever nationwide survey of school superintendents on U.S. competitiveness and business’ role in education. Research findings on how business leaders can engage with educators in deeper, more productive partnerships were highlighted in School Administrator magazine.