NBC News Offers First Glimpse of September's "Education Nation" Summit

Sep 01, 2011, 17:08 ET from University of Phoenix

Jennifer Garner To Participate On Monday's Panel Focused On Early Childhood Learning

Teachers Nationwide Are Invited To Pre-register For EducationNation.com's "Teacher's Lounge"

NEW YORK, Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NBC News today announced its first list of confirmed panel topics for the "Education Nation" Summit that begins September 25th at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.  This year's lineup of education panels will include sessions on teaching and testing, the brain science behind early learning, and the value of higher education in today's economy.

"Building on the success of and lessons learned at last year's Summit, we're taking a new approach this year by diving deeper into our session topics— uncovering the many challenges and opportunities that exist in American education," said NBC News President Steve Capus. "We'll be exploring a line up of issues that drive to the heart of education— from early childhood education, up to higher ed."

Additional information regarding panel topics and confirmed participants will soon follow.  The "Education Nation" sessions will be available for live or delayed viewing on EducationNation.com.

To date, confirmed sessions at the "Education Nation" Summit include:

Brain Power: Why Early Learning Matters — Every child starts with one thing in common: the potential to learn.  And that's where the Education Nation Summit will begin—with a visual journey into the science of brain development and early childhood learning—showing how a child's first few formative years impact his or her entire life.  NBC News' Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman will moderate this session on Monday, September 26th. Jennifer Garner, artist ambassador for "Save The Children," is confirmed to participate on the panel.

Who's Getting Graded: Putting Accountability to the Test— A national movement has coalesced around the idea of "no excuses" for failing schools as dozens of states are changing the way they evaluate teachers in order to factor in student achievement.  The nation's largest teachers' union even voted this summer to endorse linking teacher evaluation to student learning.  Meanwhile, the National Academies of Science says that test-based accountability hasn't improved student learning over the last decade, a few high-profile cheating scandals have made national headlines, and some argue that the focus on testing is having the unintended consequence of holding back students' creativity and problem-solving skills.  What does it all mean, and where do we go from here? NBC News' Chief Education Correspondent Rehema Ellis will moderate the discussion on Monday, September 26th.

A Matter of Degrees: Measuring the Value of Higher Ed — More than ever before, job openings are requiring workers with at least some college education.  But even though more students are entering college than ever before, the nation is a long way from meeting the "preparation gap" for the future workforce.  This session will take a complete look at the scope of the college completion crisis—why so many students drop out and what to do about it and the value of higher education in today's economy. This panel session will be moderated by Andrea Mitchell, NBC News' Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and host of MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on Tuesday, September 27th.

In addition to releasing its first panel topics, NBC News is preparing to launch its "Teacher's Lounge" on EducationNation.com. On Sunday, September 25th, as hundreds of teachers gather in-person in New York City for the second annual national Teacher Town Hall, NBC News is also inviting teachers from across the country to join the conversation online. EducationNation.com will host a live chat during the Teacher Town Hall in the new "Teachers' Lounge"— a teachers-only online forum. The "Teachers' Lounge" will open in early September so that the conversation can get started leading up to the event. Sign up today on EducationNation.com to receive registration notifications and information: click here.

Once again, this September, the "Education Nation" Summit 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.  The Summit launches Sunday, September 25th with "Meet the Press" at Rockefeller Plaza, followed by the two-hour Teacher Town Hall televised on MSNBC beginning at 12:00 PM/ET. For the entire week of September 25, "Nightly News," "Today," MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, The Weather Channel, msnbc.comtheGrio.com, EducationNation.com, iVillage and NBC's affiliate stations will highlight educational success stories, uncover sometimes staggering truths and myths about education, and help demonstrate how poor education cripples our economy and society.

Don't Forget-- Education Nation's teacher essay contest for teachers closes on Friday, September 2, 2011 at 5:00 PM/ET. NBC News will select three winners and bring them to New York City for the Teacher Town Hall. The winners will also have their essays published on EducationNation.com during the Summit in September. A panel of NBC News journalists and education experts will judge the essays, and will be looking for honest, personal accounts that show a unique side of teaching that isn't read about in the daily headlines. For more information on the contest and to submit an essay, visit EducationNation.com.

Sponsors of the 2011 "Education Nation" Summit include University of Phoenix, State Farm®, Microsoft, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Bezos Family Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

"Education Nation" seeks to create a thoughtful, well-informed dialogue with policymakers, thought-leaders, educators, parents and the public, in pursuit of the shared goal of providing every American with an opportunity to achieve the best education in the world. These discussions cover the challenges, potential solutions and innovations spanning the education landscape. By providing quality information to the public, NBC News hopes to educate Americans so they can make decisions about how best to improve our education system both in the near and long terms, and to shine a spotlight on one of the most urgent national issues of our time, so that America can once again become the Education Nation of the world.

For more information about "Education Nation," visit EducationNation.com, check us out on Facebook: facebook.com/EducationNation or follow us on Twitter @EducationNation.

SOURCE University of Phoenix