Education Nation

by Jean Tower

NBC is hosting an interactive summit on the state of education in America – Education Nation.


The summit was September 27th and 28th, and more events are happening all week. The web site says, “During the entire week of September 26th, NBC News will highlight education stories as well as broadcast live from the Plaza.” I haven’t heard or read too much about it on the news.

I am, however,  finding lots of information on the Education Nation web site:

An Education Nation scorecard
The scorecard is interactive and you enter your school and see test results and other data, including state comparisons.

Video: Shayne Evans, director of Chicago Charter School’s Woodlawn Campus, and Shmuel Meitar, founder and principal of “Time to Know” discussing whether schools are embracing technology.
This is a brief video and both guests agree that technology is very important – a critical tool.

Video: NYC pushes to revamp teacher tenure
In an interview Mayor Bloomberg explains how NY has gone after the tenure. For example, he says that if NYC has to lay off teachers they do not want to use last in, first out, but rather, exit the lowest performing teachers.

Video: PANEL: How public schools can attract good apples
A panel discusses attracting and retaining high quality teachers.

Video: Tom Brokaw Talks to Arne Duncan
This is a 41 minute video. Secretary Duncan talks to Tom Brokaw and answers the questions of college students. He announced a national campaign to attract the “next generation” of talent and the launch the associated web site

From Monday, there is a video of Teacher Town Hall, hosted by Brian Williams.
This video is 86 minutes and teachers participate live and through remote video connections.

Do you have any expectations for the event? What do you hope comes out of it?

I have only three small wishes.
One is that Education Nation keeps education on the national agenda as an important topic. I believe that it’s good to have more people passionate about education and engaged in an improvement process.

The second is that Education Nation gets conversations going about the importance of technology and 21st century skills in education. I can’t believe this is even a question.

The third is that I hope the ensuing conversations don’t make the mistake of blaming educators for anything everything that is wrong with the system. So many people (even Arne Duncan) seem to make an attribution error – that it’s the dedicated people in the education system that make it imperfect and not things like lack of funding.

So how about you? Do you expect any good to come of Education Nation?

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