More than 30 state governors and leaders of dozens of big corporations gather in New York's Hudson River Valley today to brainstorm about how to raise learning standards and use technology in the classroom more effectively. President Clinton is the two-day conference's keynote speaker, and Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Bill Goodling, who chairs the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee, will address a breakfast meeting.
The 1999 National Education Summit, the third such meeting, runs through Friday. It is sponsored by Achieve, Inc, and organization created by governors and business leaders in 1996 to provide advice and assistance to states on education reform.
Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and IBM Chairman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. co-chair Achieve, Inc., which is designed to foster cross-state collaboration on curriculum, assessment, and accountability issues.
David Gergen, editor-at-large of U.S. News & World Report, will moderate a town hall discussion at the Summit. Now that the educational standards movement is underway, policy makers and business leaders want to ensure its success, he says.
"Governors want to rededicated themselves to overcoming the obstacles ahead. They realize that much progress remains to be done," Gergen told stateline.org.
The Gergen-led discussion will delve into questions such as: How does a state attract quality teachers, how does the state ensure that students will be prepared to meet the new high standards, how can states sustain public support while the nation works through this growing process?
The last Education Summit, held in 1996 "lit the fuse" for the standards movement, Gergen says. "It has just been an explosion. Up until 1987, people were still arguing whether standards were a good thing. That discussion is over, now we are discussing how do you make the idea successful," he adds.
Summit organizers hope that the meeting will help states improve teaching and professional development, establish rewards and consequences for school performance, promote greater choice within and among schools and introduce additional education technology to the states.
Eleven different technologies will be demonstrated, giving summit participants a look at how age-old barriers to student achievement can be addressed in new ways.
For more information, visit the 1999 National Education Summit Web site.
The American Federation of Teachers , a union which represents one million teachers and education workers, has launched a $1 million national television advertising campaign in conjunction with the summit.
"At a time when the opponents of public education are pushing diversions such as vouchers, we want to focus attention on the progress that is being made in our public schools as well as the work that still needs to be done," AFT President Sandra Feldman said.
To see the AFT commercials, click on television ads.