National School Boards Association (NSBA) leaders participated in NBC’s Education Nation Summit this week, bringing NSBA’s message that local governance matters to a wide audience that included governors, foundations, business leaders, researchers and practitioners.
This year’s summit incorporated a student-centered “What it Takes” theme, with panel discussions on how to ensure all students are prepared for success in K-12, higher education, and careers. NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel and President David A. Pickler were among the more than 300 attendees invited to the event.
“Innovation was a persistent theme at Education Nation,” said Gentzel. “Some of the best presenters were young people who, in demonstrating their creativity, also served as great testimonials for the public education system that provided the training and opportunities for them to explore and develop exciting new ideas.”
Gentzel added that another significant theme that public schools are accomplishing great things but the expectations and needs are growing. However, he added, there needs to be more emphasis on the local leadership to make these achievements possible.
During an Oct. 8 panel featuring governors, Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky answered a question posed by Pickler, noting the role of local school boards in school improvement. Beshear also stated that charter schools should be authorized by local school boards, which can determine if those schools are needed.
Pickler also lauded the event’s emphasis on early learning and pre-K. In particular, he praised Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s response to a question from NBC’s Matt Lauer on what would be the single most important game changer to address America’s educational challenges. Duncan stated that the ultimate change should be on delivering a world class early childhood education, Pickler noted.
The three day Education Nation event took place October 6-8 at the New York City public library.