I wanted to take a minute to reflect on three different summits that were held by the The White House and Department of Ed in November and December 2014 that are all important to the future of education.
First, the #FutureReady Summit invited various K-12 school superintendents to the White House to listen and to share about ways to make all schools future ready (See recordings of the event here). Superintendents at that gathering signed their Future Ready pledges via handheld device, iPads or computers during the summit – it was cool to see the “just in time” technology map show the location of each person as they signed the Future Ready pledge. Superintendents, through their pledge agreed to:
- Foster and lead a culture of digital learning within our schools
- Help schools and families transition to high-speed connectivity
- Empower educators through professional learning opportunities
- Accelerate progress toward universal access for all students to quality devices
- Provide access to quality digital content
- Offer digital tools to help students and families reach higher (#collegeopportunity)
- Mentor other districts and help them transition to digital learning
Now, there are regional future ready summits for 2015. Check the listings to find one in your neighborhood to continue the conversation.
Next came the Early Education Summit (#InvestinUs summit) which focused on the importance of early education. One of the facts shared during this summit was that “every $1 invested in early education today can save more than $8 in the future.” As part of this summit, various companies and organizations committed funding to support early education. This Early Education Fact Sheet shows how over $330 million was committed during the summit and $750 million in new federal grants are available for early education initiatives. Who could not be moved by this 6-year-old introducing the President of the United States as the opening of the Early Education Summit:
Then, at the other end of the public education spectrum came the White House College Opportunity Day of Action (#collegeopportunity). This summit brought together college presidents to share and talk about ways to empower more young people to attend college. As I think most people can agree and was emphasized during this summit, “The key to success in today’s economy is higher education, which is why expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong middle class.” A list of actions by many state colleges and universities was shared during the summit. Also emphasized was the president’s “North star” goal that President’s “North Star” goal — that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. First Lady Michelle Obama provides energy to this direction via the Reach Higher initiative.
Education is important at all levels. Research has shown this reportedly throughout history. It is good to see the White House sponsoring these gatherings to amplify the importance of investing in education at all levels.