Politicians, entrepreneurs and education professionals from across the country convened in Washington, DC for a two-day education summit that ended Wednesday.
The National Summit on Education Reform, an annual convention hosted by former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education, offered a venue for state education secretaries, superintendents, university professors and business execs to share ideas.
As keynote speakers, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and NJ Gov. Chris Christie extolled the strides made on local and national levels by reformers.
As The Washington Post reports, charter schools, technology, and the re-authorization by Congress of No Child Left Behind were the leading topics of conversation.
The Post reports:
Both [Arne Duncan and Gov. Jeb Bush] called for the next Congress to quickly reauthorize No Child Left Behind, but Duncan urged changes to the law, noting that it was too inflexible and had led to the narrowing of curriculum in public schools as well as to lower academic standards as states struggled to meet unreasonable targets set by the law.
Though attendees will probably leave with something else on their minds: Digital learning.
Bush told MSNBC Wednesday:
"We hope to get to a point where digital learning becomes a non-political issue, becomes the core way that we educate children. It's not ideological. It's really focused on customizing learning towards children and away from the systemic elements where the adults dominate education."
Though the idea of learning via Internet is controversial for many, W. Va.'s former Gov. Bob Wise argues that students will learn at their own pace through the power of digital learning:
"One major state for instance has 440 high schools and only 88 certified physics teacher. We are not going to be able to get a certified physics teacher in every one of those other high schools. But what we can do through technology is bring in high quality physics content. We combine that with an effective teacher in the classroom to truly get the maximum student outcome."