Suggested Remarks
ECS Gavel Exchange
Denver, Colorado
July 14,1999

Good morning everyone.

This morning we mark an end and a beginning.

My term as chair of the Education Commission of the States comes to an end shortly when I turn the gavel over to Governor Geringer.

At that time, Governor Geringer will begin his journey of leadership that will take ECS into the new millenium.

 It’s my hope that, as chair of this organization for the past year, I have, in some small way, helped prepare ECS and its members to meet the challenges in education that are coming with the new century.

Our initiative this past year has been to accelerate the transformation of postsecondary education to meet the needs of the 21st century.

I believe we’ve made a contribution to that process, a process which will make postsecondary education more affordable, more accessible and more responsive; to the students it serves and to the businesses that need a trained and skilled workforce. 

As part of our initiative, last year we brought together over twenty leaders in government, business and education from across the country to frankly discuss the need for change in higher education and the opportunity for all leaders to have a significant role in leveraging change.

We had some of the leading thinkers on the subject of higher education share with us their thoughts and publish them in 7 papers which we’ve distributed to our members and others.

With the help of the Pew Charitable Trust we’ve begun a series of forums around the country which will keep the subject of postsecondary education before the American people in the years ahead. 

Clearly, our decision to focus on the transformation of postsecondary education was timely and important, evidenced by the discussions that have taken place during this annual conference and the interest and concern shown by so many of you in this issue.

It’s also evidenced by the fact that my successor will take another important step in the transformation of postsecondary education with his initiative for preparing our teachers for the 21st century, a job for our colleges and universities.

In Kentucky, we understand that investing in education will create opportunities for a better quality of life and help us compete in the global marketplace.

It was ECS that was the key to helping us achieve postsecondary education reform in our state.

They provided us with the information and the credibility we needed to convince our legislators that change was necessary.

Let me say that it makes me swell with pride to know that Kentucky’s efforts in education reform have been characterized as a model for others to follow.

It’s my hope that our example and our contributions through ECS will help set other states on a similar course toward excellence in education that serves their citizens with the opportunity for a better quality of life and thereby help our entire society to move into the next century with hope and optimism.

It’s been a pleasure to work with you and for the American people.

Thank you.