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NBC News Education Nation 2012 Summit

Education Nation

NBC News held its very first Education Nation Summit in 2010, bringing together scores of parents, teachers, school officials, businesses, politicians, and others committed to addressing current issues in U.S. education and securing a bright future for American students. Since that first summit, Education Nation has gone on annual national tours throughout different cities, started The Learning Curve blog and reported on important educational matters.

Though the conference is held once a year, Education Nation maintains its dedication to education all year through these initiatives, thus continuing its mission of "creating a thoughtful, well-informed dialogue with policymakers, thought-leaders, educators, parents and the public, in pursuit of the shared goal of providing every American with an opportunity to achieve the best education in the world." This year marked the third Education Nation Summit, held at the New York Public Library from September 23rd through the 25th.

In case you missed the Summit, here are some of the highlights!  

Day One: September 23

The first day of the even consisted of three “town hall” meetings.

  • MSNBC Host and Tulane University Professor Melissa Harris-Perry held a forum where students from different backgrounds discussed the educational issues that they considered important.
  • A Teacher Town Hall, facilitated by NBC News anchor Brian Williams, addressed major issues such as graduation rates, a shortage of proper resources to serve at-risk students and new teacher evaluation systems.
  • The final event of the first day was MSNBC’s Alex Wagner’s town hall meeting for parents.

Day Two: September 24 This was a full day, beginning at 7:40 a.m. and running straight to 5:40 p.m. Some of the highlights included:

  • Opening remarks with Tom Brokaw, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Public Library President Anthony Marx. Mayor Bloomberg specifically mentioned the recent Chicago teachers’ strike, the need for longer school days and teacher evaluation reform.
  • The introduction of contestants in the Citi Innovation Challenge, where contestants entered their education technological innovations in hope of finding funding for their projects.
  • Panel sessions on the Common Core Standards, STEM education, character education, game-based learning, college and career readiness, and teacher unions.
  • Case studies centered on charter schools, technology, early childhood education and wraparound services.

Day Three: September 25 The final day concluded just after noon. Events included:

  • The results of the Citi Innovation Challenge were announced. The winner: No Red Ink, a platform that helps students work on specific grammar skills.
  • Both President Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney talked about education reform, sharing their concerns with the current state of education and their plans for the future. In a pre-recorded speech, Obama focused on affordable college education and rewarding schools for high student performance. In a live appearance, Romney discussed merit-based pay and many of the Race to the Top incentives. He was clear that he would not support the Common Core Standards.
  • Similar to Meet the Press, the show’s host David Gregory facilitated a panel of politicians to discuss how the presidential election could affect education.

It was a busy and productive three days. More technology and STEM education are certainly the way forward, while the fate of the Common Core Standards may very well rest in the results of the next presidential election. Educators and politicians are divided on teacher evaluation systems and merit pay, but student achievement remains at the forefront of everybody’s mind.  

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