George Lucas Educational Foundation

NBC's "Education Nation" Summit

NBC's "Education Nation" Summit

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Anyone else notice a dearth of classroom teachers and students in this summit?


Panelists include Reed Hastings, Founder & CEO of Netflix; Michelle Rhee, Chancellor, District of Columbia Public School System of Washington, D.C.; Musician John Legend; Former US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; and Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers

New York, NY - September 13 - NBC News' "Education Nation" Summit, the Sept. 27-28 centerpiece of the weeklong "Education Nation" initiative that begins Sept. 26 at Rockefeller Plaza, will convene the foremost policymakers, elected officials, thought leaders, educators, members of the business community and engaged citizens in a national discussion about the challenges, potential solutions and innovations spanning today's education landscape. NBC News today announced the agenda of panel topics for the Summit, along with a number of confirmed panelists.

The Summit's 11 panel sessions will present discussions on important topics in education such as: workforce readiness; developing great teachers; technology and innovation; parental involvement; early education; higher education; and the politics of education. The "Education Nation" sessions will be covered on MSNBC and streamed on live and for delayed viewing.

"The state of education in America is facing a number of complex challenges. Many students are falling behind, dropping out and leaving school unprepared for today's jobs in alarming numbers - yet a sense of urgency seems to be lacking," said Steve Capus, President NBC News. "In order to spark and elevate a national dialogue we have convened an impressive 'Education Nation' lineup representing a great diversity of interests and ideas."

"The response we've received from leaders in education has been overwhelmingly positive," said Lisa Gersh, President of Strategic Initiatives at NBC News. "The experts we have convened at 'Education Nation' will highlight some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in education in this country, jumpstarting a national conversation about one of the most pressing issues of our time."

To date, confirmed participating speakers include:

Maria Bartiromo: Anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" and Anchor and Managing Editor of "Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo"
Michael Bloomberg: Mayor, City of New York
Cory Booker: Mayor, City of Newark, New Jersey
Phil Bredesen: Governor, State of Tennessee
Steven Brill: Co-founder of Journalism Online
Tom Brokaw: NBC News Special Correspondent
Geoffrey Canada: CEO & President of Harlem Children's Zone Project
David Coleman: Founder & CEO, Student Achievement Partners; Contributing Author of the Common Core Standards
Ann Curry: News Anchor, "Today" and Anchor, "Dateline NBC"
Arne Duncan: US Secretary of Education
Byron Garrett: CEO of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Allan Golston, President, US Program, The Gates Foundation
Jennifer M. Granholm: Governor, State of Michigan
David Gregory: Moderator, "Meet the Press"
Reed Hastings: Founder & CEO of Netflix
Lester Holt: Anchor, "NBC Nightly News," Weekend Edition and Co-Host, "Today" Weekend Edition
Walter Isaacson: President & CEO of the Aspen Institute
Joel Klein: Chancellor of New York City Schools
Wendy Kopp: CEO and Founder of Teach for America
John Legend: Musician; Founder of the Show Me Campaign
Jack Markell: Governor, State of Delaware
Gregory McGinity: Managing Director of Policy, The Broad Education Foundation
Andrea Mitchell: NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Host, "Andrea Mitchell Reports"
Janet Murguia: President & CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
Michael Nutter: Mayor, City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bill Pepicello, Ph.D.: President of University of Phoenix
Sally Ride: First Female Astronaut; Vice-chair of Change the Equation
Michelle Rhee: Chancellor, District of Columbia Public School System of Washington, D.C.
Edward Rust: Chairman & CEO of State Farm Insurance Companies
Gwen Samuel, CT delegate to Mom Congress
Barry Schuler: Former CEO of AOL
Sterling Speirn: CEO, Kellogg Foundation
Margaret Spellings: Former US Secretary of Education
Antonio Villaraigosa: Mayor, City of Los Angeles, California
Randi Weingarten: President of American Federation of Teachers (AFT-CLO)
Brian Williams: Anchor and Managing Editor "NBC Nightly News"
Confirmed sessions at "Education Nation" include:

Job One: Preparing America's students to compete in the global economy
The Innovation Gap: Bringing the technology revolution to the schoolhouse
Change Agents: How do we reinvent the status quo at all levels?
The Path to the American Dream: A survey on post-secondary education
Kids Can't Vote: How can the politics of education put students first?
Educating the Digital Generation: What are the roles and responsibilities of media in learning?
Good Apples: How do we keep good teachers, throw out bad ones, and put a new shine on the profession?
A Fresh Start: Leveling the playing field before school begins
Shrinking the Achievement Gap: Is education the civil rights issue of our time?
Study Abroad: What can we learn from the global leaders in education?
The Parent and the Village: Fostering a learning culture in our communities

NBC News' "Education Nation" will launch Sunday, Sept. 26 on "Meet the Press." Additional news coverage and programming airing across all NBC News programs and platforms will extend beyond the two-day Summit. For the entire week of September 27, "Nightly News," "Today," "Your Business," MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, and will highlight educational success stories, uncover staggering truths and myths about education, and demonstrate how poor education cripples our economy and society.

In addition to the Summit, NBC News will turn Rockefeller Plaza into a "Learning Plaza," which will include a series of galleries open to the public to explore the latest technologies and techniques used in award-winning classrooms nationwide. Interactive elements of "Learning Plaza" include learning style quizzes, video teacher tributes, interactive learning stations, and a "Call to Action" center where visitors can discover ways to take part in improving education. Also open to the public will be an interactive "Teaching Garden," which teaches children about the importance of good nutrition and physical fitness through hands-on participation.

For more information visit, or follow on twitter @EducationNation or find "Education Nation" on Facebook at

Comments (36) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Mary Shannon's picture
Mary Shannon
Kindergarten Teacher, Merton, WI

It seems the expert panel members are the farthest from children. Where are the teachers, they are with children daily, better yet, where are the children on this panel?

Rebecca Alber's picture
Rebecca Alber
Edutopia Consulting Editor

[quote]It seems the expert panel members are the farthest from children. Where are the teachers, they are with children daily, better yet, where are the children on this panel?[/quote]

Thanks for asking about children being included on the panel. Why does this seem like such a revolutionary act? Both students and teachers have so much to contribute to the discussion. Including their voices in the forefront should be without question!

Denise Foures-Aalbu's picture
Denise Foures-Aalbu
French/English Instructor

[quote]I agree Denise! -- it would be fitting to have Milton at least on the list, given his recent book "Education Nation"but I'm sure his name wasn't highlighted because he wasn't a "big name." We also did a webinar with Milton Chen that you can view here. He talks in detail about his book and how you apply some of the innovations he highlights in your school.

All the best,


[quote]I am happy to know that Milton Chen will be attending the summit and participating in a panel discussion. His name should have been first on the list since he is the author of "Education Nation":) His interview on Classroom 2.0 should have received more attention but teachers are overwhelmed right now since we are "at a moment of huge shifts around learning". We are collectively in charge and this summit will provide a great opportunity for all interested in the future of education to listen and collaborate.[/quote][/quote]

Denise Foures-Aalbu's picture
Denise Foures-Aalbu
French/English Instructor

Thanks for the message Elana. I attended the webinar and always enjoy listening to those dedicated to making a difference in the USA.

Teachers need to be appreciated in order to be passionate about teaching. Where would we all be without the dedication of teachers in this country? Education Nation is the dialogue long overdue for everyone to understand that we need education reform to take care of our children in order to prepare them to be global citizens.

Kathleen Kosobud's picture

What a sham. Online comments were chaos. Many comments were excluded. On screen, comments were so restricted that no one person could make any cogent points. But then, after all, if NBC truly wanted to do something significant and thoughtful, it would have been extended, embedded in real public schools, with fora set up for thoughtful discussions of the complex systems that make up schools. Teachers took an unfair beating, as did public education. As a parent of children with disabilities, and a teacher and scholar in special education, I was appalled at the bias that participants held toward staffing with transient and uncertified personnel, favoring of charters and vouchers (which are mostly publicly-funded, yet are allowed to be selective in the students they choose to serve), and the outright scorn with which public school educators were treated. When a free press is constrained by the wealthy and elitist, it is no longer free to serve to inform the public and let the public decide. NBC did an enormous disservice to public education and to democracy.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton's picture
Bonnie Bracey Sutton
Teacher Agent of Change, Power of US Foundation

Dr.Chen has so much talent, it is a shame that nationally the press has not used his book, ideas or ways of working for change over such a long period of time as a way to wedge innovative practices into the consciousness of the media.. as the Foundation is not a one shot initiative. Maybe some of the journalist will dig deep and see the treasure chest of resources collected here. Me, I just post them on Facebook, hoping that some of the journalist are really paying attention.

Bob Charles's picture
Bob Charles
I am in search of definitions for "Quality Eduction" and "Great School".

"Job One: Preparing America's students to compete in the global economy" ... that is the stated purpose of education.

The speakers are a cross section distinguished products of our education system. I think about 2% of all adults are school teachers, so I wouldn't expect more that one of the speakers has been a teacher. It is important to sit back and study what teachers have produced and get the speakers' feed back on how the system works or should work.

This is more about "what to teach". I would hope there would be a similar teacher oriented summit on "How to teach".

As a non-teacher parent I am very interested in what the speakers have to say and value their ideas on purpose and change.

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