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NBC News Hosting Fall Education Summit

nbc_edu_7-20.jpgDuring the week of September 27th, NBC News has a full week of events in the works as a part of their “Education Nation” summit. According to the release — posted after the jump — NBC News properties “highlight educational success stories, uncover staggering truths and myths about education, and demonstrate how poor education cripples our economy and society,” all centered around a two-day gathering in Rockefeller Plaza.

NBC News President Steve Capus described NBC News’ participation to the AP as “an entirely appropriate move for a news division. We make decisions every day about where we’re going to place emphasis, and why not place emphasis on this coverage and create the forums where we hope to have some dialogues? We’re not going in with preconceived ideas.”


NBC UNIVERSAL PRESENTS “EDUCATION NATION,” AN UNPRECEDENTED WEEKLONG EVENT EXAMINING AND REDEFINING EDUCATION IN AMERICA THIS SEPTEMBER

NBC News Hosts Two-Day Summit on Rockefeller Plaza to Kick Off Weeklong Series Exploring the Greatest Challenges, Most Exciting Opportunities, and Most Innovative Ways to Revolutionize Education in America

Summit Convenes Leaders including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Along with Teachers, Parents and Students From Across America

New York, NY – July 19, 2010 – NBC News launches its first annual “Education Nation” the week of September 27, 2010 – a nationally broadcast in-depth conversation about improving education in America, beginning with an interactive two-day summit on Rockefeller Plaza. National statistics show that 68% of eighth graders cannot read at their grade level; American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science compared to 30 other industrialized countries; and most college students are “non-traditional” – spending more than four years in college or enrolling well after high school. These are only some of the surprising statistics that prove it is more vital than ever to have a conversation about improving the state of education at all levels, from early education through higher education and beyond.

Taking place on Rockefeller Plaza, which is co-owned by Tishman Speyer, the two-day summit is a call to action, shining a spotlight on the most pressing national issue of our time: Education in America. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Harlem Children Zone’s CEO Geoffrey Canada, President of MIT Susan Hockfield, National Superintendent of the Year Elizabeth Morgan, Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton, and President of University of Phoenix Bill Pepicello, Ph.D., join a host of top leaders in education to open a national dialogue and address the gap between how we perceive education and the actual results we are producing today.

"The strength of the NBC Universal portfolio offers the unique opportunity to jump-start a national dialogue on education in America, one of the most pressing issues today," said Jeff Zucker, President and Chief Executive Officer, NBC Universal. "It is important that we utilize all of our platforms, combined with the first of its kind summit on Rockefeller Plaza, to have this important conversation. Our hope is to create lasting and positive change for America’s education system."

"Education Nation" will include more than 300 big thinkers in government, politics, business and technology – as well as school administrators, teachers, parents and students from across the country – to tackle the challenges in education and highlight exciting opportunities and big ideas in education reform. The goal of “Education Nation” is to provide clear information on how schools are performing, reimagine what education in America can be, build on national momentum within the policy and reform communities, and inspire changes that enable our nation to prepare a skilled workforce to meet the demands of the future.

Special news coverage and programming airing across all NBC News programs and platforms will extend beyond the two-day summit. For the entire week of September 27th, “Nightly News,” “Today,” “Meet the Press,” “Your Business,” MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, msnbc.com and nbclearn.com will

“As journalists it is our job to shed light on critical issues facing our country, and sadly, education reform has too often been overlooked,” said Steve Capus, President of NBC News. “The time is now to jump-start those discussions through the ‘Education Nation’ forums, related NBC News programming and our critically acclaimed NBC Learn platforms. NBC News is committed to furthering the education discussion now and for years to come.”

Secretary Duncan said: "This is an opportunity to celebrate great teachers and leaders, highlight successful models of reform and share the best ideas to ensure that America will have the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020."

“New York City is honored to host ‘Education Nation,’” Mayor Bloomberg said. “Over the last seven years, New York City has become a model of how to start turning around a large school district that had failed its students for far too long, but certainly we don’t hold a monopoly on all the good ideas. We’re excited to learn more about what others are doing, and share our experience with a national audience.”

In addition to the panels and discussions taking place at the Summit, NBC News will work with world-renowned architect David Rockwell and his firm Rockwell Group and award-winning exhibition designer Ralph Appelbaum and Ralph Appelbaum Associates to turn Rockefeller Plaza into a “Learning Plaza.” This project, which will allow the public to become personally engaged in Education Nation, is happening thanks to NBC Universal’s partnership with Tishman Speyer, the co-owner of Rockefeller Center. The general public will be able to visit the plaza to explore and learn in unique, interactive classrooms that highlight the latest technologies and techniques used in award-winning classrooms nationwide.

Partners of “Education Nation” include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, University of Phoenix, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, American Express, Raytheon, Tishman Speyer and Scholastic. In addition to promoting the summit to teachers, students and parents through its network, Scholastic will also assign its kid reporter network to cover the summit from the student perspective.

Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Gates Foundation, applauds NBC’s summit: "Conditions demand dramatic improvements in our public schools. I believe today’s evidence-based reforms can make a huge difference for students. But it is critical that America’s teachers and parents engage in these changes to bring higher and sustained achievement for all young people."

For more information about “Education Nation” including a list of participants and schedule of events, visit www.educationnation.com, or follow @EducationNation on Twitter (also #EducationNation). More information about “Education Nation” will be announced as the date nears.

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