Posted by: ACFE Inc | September 26, 2011

Education Nation, Day Two

I am amazed and overwhelmed by all of the experiences that Education Nation has thrown at me, so I am just going to try to sum up a few thoughts in the whirlwind of a long day:

First of all, can I start off every day interviewing someone as nice as Dennis van Roekel at 7 am? The NEA President shared his thoughts about how to rebuild trust in the wake of the standardized testing cheating scandals that are currently sweeping the country, as well as his experiences being the parent of a gifted, perfectionist son. Jenny was recording the interview so you can share the experience with me, and I think you too will agree he is a genuinely nice guy.

Video to come!

The day hadn’t even begun yet. Education Nation began bright and early at 7:45 am, which was appropriate since we were discussing early learning! We jumped right into a mini-science lesson about why, physically, it’s so important to develop babies’ brains, and what research tells us about how to do that best. We also heard from organizations dedicated to early development, like Head Start and Save the Children (represented by the lovely Jennifer Garner).

At this point I could tell you about the three totally different technological innovations that some incredibly bright pairs of young people came up with and presented…or the teachers that we in the audience got to observe and speak to in their classrooms, in the midst of their lessons (I wish I had gone on an archaelogical dig in seventh grade social studies!)…or the great panel I watched on parent advocacy…or the early panel with Warren and Suzie Buffett and Melinda Gates, discussing philanthropy and education, or the several other presentations I am not even touching on. But there is just too much to say so I have to hit the highlights: Arne and my fellow Mom Congresswomen.

Education Nation in many ways was the height of education-nerdom in the best possible way, and to culminate that with meeting Secretary Duncan made it unbeatable. I had the opportunity to sit with a small group of people in the blogger’s lounge and not only listen to him answer other great questions, but to ask one of my own: In the wake of PISA demonstrating how poorly we are doing compared to other first-world countries, what can we learn from states like Massachusetts, who, when the states are broken down and put into the PISA rankings, have surpassed the rest of us education-wise? What are they doing right that we can do, too?

Don’t worry, I recorded his answer too, but haven’t uploaded it yet—you’ll just have to stay tuned!

And what a way to end the day than wine and VERY local honey at Morell with my fellow representatives from Mom Congress? I am so pleased that although Mom Congress is only once a year, we have found ways to connect more than just annually. We talked about everything from testing and how our own state public school systems work, to funding schools, to social media and what is the best way to find the right banner ad sponsorship for your website? We have already started brainstorming ways to come together again, not just regionally but with other representatives from across the country as well, and I am excited to see what we continue to accomplish together.

Still one more day to go! I’m going to have to go back and make sure I eventually cover all the amazing sessions I attended, but for now I have to be content with thanking everyone who participated—as a mom and a participant, I really appreciate the conversation.

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