Educators from across the United States are gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, for the EDWorks Experience Conference, “Education is a Civil Right – Early College Delivering on the Promise.” Part of the promise of our country to its citizens is political and social freedom and equality. Necessary to achieve these rights is a high quality education, something that is out of reach for too many of our students. Early College helps deliver on this promise.
This morning we kicked things off with Dr. James Johnson, Jr., who spoke about the implications of demographic changes for our nation and our education system.
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Dr. Johnson spoke about 6 disruptive trends he’s seeing in demographic changes, all of which have implications for educators. Among them, populations are shifting in the United States towards the South and West, more and more people are marrying out of race, the “Silver Tsunami” is about to hit and and the educational and financial success of men is declining. The data and questions posed by Dr. Johnson set the stage for some rich discussions between educators, school leaders and school partners about the power of early college and future of education.
Our luncheon keynote address was by ASCD President and former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the United States Department of Education Deb Delisle, which focused on the importance of keeping students at the center of all education decision making.
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Delisle also moderated a discussion with three student panelists: Jordan S.R. Brown, a 2010 graduate of Lorain County Early College High School; Amira Daugherty, a senior at DeKalb Early College Academy; and Jason Gilmore, a 2012 graduate of Youngstown Early College. The students’ candor and insight from their personal experiences reinforced why we do what we do with early college.
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In between our fabulous keynote addresses, the nearly 200 attendees of the EDWorks Experience conference attended sessions led by experts in student supports, special education in an early college setting, conducting a successful summer bridge program, communication, policy, and partnerships between early colleges, business and government.
The day was capped off with a dinner and socializing networking opportunity at the beautiful Center for Human and Civil Rights, a setting which gave context to the long and still continuing fight for civil rights around the world.
Kate Westrich manages the EDWorks website and blog, along with our presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Google Plus.