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Columbia Group

In 1995, representatives from business-supported, public policy centers in six southeastern states met in Columbia, SC, to discuss the feasibility of creating a network focused on school reform. The concept struck a responsive chord and, since then, the network has grown and solidified into the Columbia Group.

Impetus was provided by a school/business partnership initiative begun in the early nineties by the federally funded educational laboratory for the Southeast, SERVE, which contracted with the Public School Forum of NC to coordinate the initiative. The BellSouth Foundation has served as the primary facilitator of the Columbia Group since its inception. During the last several years, the National Business Roundtable has joined the Columbia Group in its efforts to advance education in the Southeast.

In 2002, the Columbia Group received a planning grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for its second regional initiative. The group will explore education finance issues in the Southeast and develop strategies for helping states and school districts better use their education budgets.

The Columbia Group is also focusing on ways to help states and communities deal with the changing guidelines created by the federal "No Child Left Behind" legislation and the implications of these. They will create public awareness campaigns to help manage the public's expectations and understanding of what this new federal legislation entails.

   

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