Knowledge and application of math and science are the ultimate sources for the innovation and technology that define the modern world.
So it’s important for our nation’s competitiveness – now and in the future – to ensure that U.S. students have these skills so they can succeed in the 21st century.
The most recent international testing shows they rank 25th in math and 17th in science. Other studies show that less than half of high school graduates are ready for college-level math, and less than one-third could handle college-level science.
These concerning results help explain why there are currently hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States going unfilled. Many companies cannot find candidates with the requisite science, technology, engineering or math skills.
Fortunately, there are efforts underway to address this critical issue.
One of the most prominent is the annual Education Nation Summit, an effort by NBC News and sponsors like ExxonMobil to shine a light on what’s needed to improve educational outcomes for American students. Now in its fourth year, Education Nation will bring together hundreds of leaders in education, business, government, philanthropy and media to explore the relationship between education and opportunity.
The 2013 Education Nation Summit kicks off in earnest on Sunday with a Student Town Hall from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Eastern Time. That will be followed by a Teacher Town Hall from noon to 2:00 PM that NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor Brian Williams will lead. Both events will be carried live on MSNBC, and I encourage you to watch them.
All of the Summit’s events over the three days from October 6 through October 8 will be streamed live on the Education Nation website and the NBC News YouTube channel. Those will include frank discussions about education from school teachers and administrators, governors, mayors, and business leaders.
The agenda also includes a one-on-one exchange between ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson and NBC special correspondent Tom Brokaw shortly after 9:00 AM Eastern on Tuesday, October 8.
Expect Rex to discuss the fundamental importance of the Common Core State Standards for improving American opportunity and achievement in education. We will work to post that interview here on the Perspectives blog shortly after it airs.
As Rex has noted, “What we need to do – as citizens and as a society – is recognize the role of education in developing future scientists and engineers. And we must have the courage to identify and uphold education standards that boost achievement, even when there may be pressure to abandon them.”
If we work together and make improving education outcomes our goal, we can improve individual opportunity for every child – and unleash progress and prosperity for our whole nation.