Change is good. That, at least, is the mantra. And despite human nature’s natural misgivings about change, it’s probably true.
Witness the latest changing of the guard here at our own shop, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). After six years of dramatically successful leadership from CEO Kyle McSlarrow, we recently greeted a new and high-profile chief, former FCC Chairman Michael Powell.
Michael is deeply aligned with cable on many fronts. He strongly believes in the power of innovation to change lives for the good. When it comes to regulation, he favors a “light touch” approach. And he has worked tirelessly in the past to help build consumer-intensive companies that make major contributions to the U.S. economy while striving to serve the public good.
Another area of common interest is the importance of improving the education of America’s children. You may be aware of the cable industry’s long-term commitments in this area, especially through the industry’s education foundation, Cable in the Classroom. Michael also considers this to be a vital part of America’s infrastructure.
As a board member and stalwart of the America’s Promise Alliance, and the leader of that group’s “Grad Nation” initiative, Michael is a powerful supporter of efforts to solve the challenges in America’s education system. America’s Promise is a cross-sector partnership of more than 400 corporations and organizations that are passionate about improving lives and changing outcomes for children.
The Alliance was famously founded more than a decade ago by Michael’s parents, General Colin Powell, and Alma Powell, who currently serves as the Chair of its Board. But it’s clear that dedication to the mission of America’s Promise for Michael is more than just a family pursuit, it’s a personal passion.
One of the major initiatives of America’s Promise is Grad Nation, a 10-year effort “to mobilize the nation as never before, to reverse the dropout crisis and enable our children to be prepared for success in college, work and life,” according to its website. On behalf of Grad Nation, Michael stumps for efforts to reverse the rate of school dropout rates at meetings and education conferences around the country.
Just last week, in fact, he appeared here in Washington, DC, before an auditorium full of educators, policy makers, and education experts, at the American Graduate initiative sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to rally support for the Grad Nation program.
For an industry like ours, which has invested millions of dollars’ worth of time, effort, and resources into support of education in the U.S. – largely through the work of Cable in the Classroom (CIC), founded in 1989 – this alignment between our trade association and its new Chief Executive is particularly gratifying.
CIC promotes the visionary, sensible, responsible and effective use of cable’s broadband technology, services, and content in teaching and learning. It also advocates digital citizenship and supports the complimentary provision, by cable industry companies, of broadband and multichannel video services and educational content to the nation’s schools. CIC is one of cable’s most prominent public affairs efforts aimed squarely to promoting social responsibility by an industry that has benefited so greatly by its partnership with the communities it serves.
The combination of Michael Powell’s passion for enhancing education, and the cable industry’s resources committed to doing the same, seems like a perfect match. We’re just at the beginning of this journey together. Undoubtedly we’ll find ways for CIC and America’s Promise Alliance to collaborate on our common objective – improving the education of our kids. Watch this space for more details as we all work together to enhance American education.