Earlier this month, following an intensive, nationwide search, Bob Wise, former West Virginia governor and nine-term member of Congress, was named president of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
“Bob Wise has demonstrated a commitment to education and the leadership to make real change,” said Dan Leeds, the Alliance’s board chair. “His considerable skills and experience combine with the Alliance’s outstanding research and advocacy efforts for a powerful message to the nation-every American child must be a high school graduate prepared for success in life.”
“Education is the key to success for our students and our country,” Wise said. “Without focusing funding and resources toward reform, this nation faces a serious crisis. During my terms as governor and member of Congress, it became very clear to me that lack of education is the root of so many of our nation’s challenges. I am very excited to have the Alliance for Excellent Education, a respected and effective proponent of school reform, as my partner as I dedicate this new phase in my career to better education for all American children.”
Wise brings a passion for education reform and coalition-building expertise to the Alliance. As governor of West Virginia from 2001 to 2005, Wise fought for and signed legislation to fund the PROMISE Scholarship Program, which helped thousands of West Virginia students stay in the state to attend college. By the time he left office, the number of West Virginians completing high school and attending college had risen to the national average. Wise also established a character education curriculum in all state schools and created the Governor’s Helpline for Safer Schools.
During Wise’s administration, West Virginia saw a significant increase in its NAEP scores: fourth-grade math scores rose by eight points and eighth graders improved by five points. By 2003, the number of West Virginia’s eighth graders scoring at the highest level of the NAEP writing exam had jumped by 17 percent. West Virginia currently has the highest rate of increase of high school students taking upper-level math courses.
In 2001, Governor Wise proposed salary bonuses for teachers who achieve National Board certification, which helped triple the rate of certified teachers in the state. And Education Week’s 2004 Quality Counts report gave West Virginia its highest cumulative grade of all fifty states.
Before assuming the governorship, Wise spent two years as a state senator and eighteen years as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Congress, he served in his party’s leadership as an at-large whip, a regional whip, and parliamentarian.