Today’s final session drew our Summit to a close with a discussion on the prospects for change that will benefit the education of America’s 15 million low-income children. Ted Mitchell, New Schools Venture Fund CEO, began by encouraging everyone to consider the ideas shared in the discussions throughout the day. Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective and NewSchools Venture Fund Board Member, interviewed the City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Mayor Emanuel told the audience that there are two basic things about education that he feels strongly about. First, he believes in what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “the fierce urgency of now.” Secondly, he feels that there three groups – principals, teachers and parents – and everything must be built around those three, with a culture of accountability.
Mayor Emanuel also discussed some of the innovations he’s helped implement. Examples included having school report cards going to parents and creating a merit-pay system for principals to ensure accountability in tandem with principal training to help them improve. Chicago has implemented longer school days. Mayor Emanuel sees this as one opportunity to create positive changes, considering them a “moral imperative.” He also discussed the need to create community college school curriculum that ensures students are career ready.
“We owe it to the next generation to give them a school system that is worthy of their future,” Mayor Emanuel told the crowd.