Leaders and educators meet at "Education Nation" summit - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leaders and educators meet at "Education Nation" summit

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NEW YORK, NY (WALB) -

NEW YORK, NY (NBC Newschannel) - There is growing frustration with the state of the nation's education.

The statistics are sobering.

Two-thirds of eight graders do not read at their grade level, and in math and science, American students rank near the bottom compared to other industrialized countries.

NBC's Education Nation kicked off a two-day summit Monday.

Teachers, educators and policy makers are focused on finding solutions.

At a time when a third of American students do not graduate high school, President Obama told Matt Lauer on "Today" there is an urgent need for education reform if America wants to compete in a global workforce.

"Historically, when we first set up the public school systems across the country, we were leaps and bounds ahead of the vast majority of countries around the world," Mr. Obama noted. "That just is not true anymore. They have caught up, and now, in some cases, they're surpassing us, especially in math and science.

The president kicked off the Education Nation summit from the White House and announced a goal of recruiting 10,000 science, technology, engineering and math teachers over the next two years.

Meanwhile, in New York, teachers, educators and policy makers discussed ways to improve a system that is failing too many kids.

"All of us are saying status quo is simply not good enough," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

And not good enough for parents

Mom and education advocate Ocynthia Williams got involved in reform 20 years ago when her children began school.

"My kids didn't get the best education," she says. "By the time they got to college they had to take remedial courses."

From school policy hurdles to teacher troubles, teachers unions are under fire for negotiating contracts that can make it difficult or virtually impossible to fire poor performing teachers.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says students will continue to pay the price if unions don't look for compromise.

"Until they come along either willingly or being dragged along, this isn't going to change," he said.

In addition to participating in panels, teachers, parents and students are touring the learning plaza at the Education Nation Summit.

It features five interactive galleries full of high-tech tools, trivia and profiles of successful programs.

If you would like more information on how you can help make changes in your community schools, click here.

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