Live From Summit 2012: Kicking Off the Day!

May 2, 2012

This morning’s opening session kicked off the second day of the NewSchools-Aspen Institute Venture Fund Summit 2012. Today there will be numerous conference sessions with thought-provoking speakers on tap. From our opening session to our closing plenary, we will update you on what’s going on and who said what, so stay tuned!

This morning started with Laysha Ward, of presenting sponsor Target, greeting the enthusiastic morning crowd. “It’s a privilege to join this important conversation. Every child deserves a quality education, regardless of race or socio-economic status. I’m honored to be here among some of the world most innovators who will move the needle with the speed that this movement demands.”

Ted Mitchell, CEO of New Schools Venture Fund, spoke in-depth about the core theme of this year’s summit: 15 million young people are living in poverty. Mr. Mitchell said:

“This is the most diverse summit we’ve had. We need it to reflect the lives of the students that we reach. The conviviality is matched by the seriousness of the task that we face – nothing less than transforming American public education into something that serves students for the first time. The stakes have also never been higher.

“Great teachers, great schools and equipment can change lives. While we are making progress, yet we are losing our case in the court of public opinion. Far too many think the basic tools that have helped youth aren’t the solution, but are seen as part of the problem. We will need to create a movement that is broader, bringing others into the conversation.

“There are no more natural allies in this movement than America’s teachers. We need to listen and respond to teachers.”

Howard Fuller, of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, addressed the audience about concerns that he sees in the education reform movement:

“We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go… We are still not doing what we need to do for kids. We have to do even better. We should claim no easy victories as we move forward to help our kids.

“People want change as long as nothing changes, so we have to make sure the change is real… We have to create an alternative reality. We ought to be embracing parent choice as a crucial element of [our work].  

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the day!