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Teachers debate topics at NBC's Education Nation Summit

9:06 AM, Sep 26, 2011   |    comments
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New Anchor Brian Williams hosted the Teacher Town Hall meeting at Education Nation in New York

NEW YORK -- NBC's Education Nation Summit kicked off with a Teacher Town Hall Meeting at Rockfeller Plaza and immediately sparked debate.

Host Brian Williams released the results of a survey: Teachers believe only 63 percent of students leave high school prepared for college. The reasons for the given included a lack of academic preparation, a lack of student motivation and a lack of encouragement. The statement generated more than 1900 comments on Facebook, Twitter and EducationNation.com within the first few minutes of the meeting. 

The two hours generated discussions on everything from innovations and technology in classrooms to teacher tenure and salaries.

"We asked the teachers in this room whether higher salaries were important to retain good teachers," said NBC New Anchor Brian Williams, host of the Teacher Town Hall meeting. "Among the teachers in this room, 74 percent Yes (votes), 26 percent No (votes). Nationally 75 percent of teachers agree, but what's interesting is there are 10 other reasons that rank higher in the national survey."

The reasons that rank higher with teachers included supportive leadership, more family involvement and more help for student behavior.

"This (teacher salary issue) really strikes home for me because when I know passionate, excellent teachers who've left the classroom, it's not because of lack of dollars, it's lack of voice," said Melanie Allen, a Boston teacher. "We want a chance to be the decision makers. We're on the ground, we know what need to be done and we want the chance to do it."

Education Nation continues through the week and will include a series of panel sessions that will be live streamed during the 2011 Education Nation Summit, as well as upcoming features on Education Nation's The Learning Curve blog, and the launch of a new parent tool, "Your Parenting GPS."

As NBC's home for the latest education news and information on the Summit, EducationNation.com will also host a series of special online forums during the Summit, and be a one-shop stop for all of NBC News' education reports and stories from "Today," "NBC Nightly News," "Meet the Press," and more.

"As the digital arm of NBC News' 'Education Nation' initiative, EducationNation.com is the perfect complement to the network's on-air programming and events, both for the Summit and beyond. The site also helps broaden the scope of the discussion by incorporating voices from across the country online," said NBC News President Steve Capus. "From archived and original content, to tools and resources, if you want to see the breadth of NBC News' commitment to reporting on education, you can see it all on EducationNation.com."

msnbc.com, NBC News' official website for news and videos, will also be live streaming 2011 "Education nation" Summit sessions, as well as producing original reports focused on education. For a full list of sessions that will be live streamed on msnbc.com and EducationNation.com, including dates and times, visit EducationNation.com/livewebcast. All sessions will be available for delayed viewing.

Education Nation's blog, "The Learning Curve," will feature a series of guest op-eds throughout the Summit, including perspectives from Tom Brokaw, Governor Bob Wise, Vice President of the National Education Association Lil Eskelen, Vice President of the Asia Society Tony Jackson and more.

Look for news about "Education Nation," at EducationNation.com. Other outlets include, facebook.com/EducationNation or twitter.com/EducationNation

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