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Program - By Education Track:

Monday, April 27, 2009

  6:30 AM - 7:45 AM

Solutions to the Increasing Cost of Financing College Education

Michael Crow , President, Arizona State University

Daniel Ebersole , Director, Georgia Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services

Competition among colleges may be the key to increasing graduation rates and could help control skyrocketing costs as well, according to a roundtable on higher education.

The roundtable opened with a discussion of President Obama's goal of having 50 percent of the American population achieve some form of post-secondary school education. Egalitarian access puts a significant financial burden on academic institutions. Universities need to offer a broader range of programs to serve a wider student population, but at the same time they need to help students graduate, panelist Michael Crow said.

U.S. graduation rates average less than 40 percent. "How do you drive down cost when productivity is so low?" Crow asked.

Universities need to improve access and low graduation rates before they can address cost. He gave the example of his experience at Columbia University to illustrate that cost containment is not a problem at private schools because of the high income of students' families. "The subject never came up," he said.

Crow suggested that the reason graduation rates are so low is that the quality of the education offered is low; so students opt out because they are underwhelmed, although not everyone in the room agreed with that assertion.

Graduation rates are complicated by students′ family income and ethnicity. Students whose abilities are in the lowest quintile and whose family income is in the highest quintile have a 75 percent likelihood of obtaining a college degree, while students whose abilities are in the highest quintile and whose family income is in the lowest quintile have a 15 percent likelihood of obtaining a college degree.

Crow said the main problems universities face today are the lack of adaptability, speed, structural innovation and differentiation. Telling public universities, for example, to think of themselves as enterprises rather than as extensions of government agencies would drive innovation. Competition among schools would spur more adaptability and differentiation.

But as for cost, innovation is not the only solution, Crow said. Arizona State University uses seven different financial models to help students finance their education. Some students pay monthly at zero interest. Crow's team is considering offering a free tuition up front, with a higher tax bracket in the post-college years to "pay" for the years of college through higher taxes.

Moderator Daniel Ebersole offered his take on reducing the cost of higher education: 529 savings plans. A new bill would extend the saver′s credit to 529 plans, make permanent the ability to change the 529′s investment direction twice per year, and make permanent the qualification of computers as a qualified withdrawal under the plan, he said. There are several options for different 529 plans, and parents can compare plans at

  11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Global M&A Opportunities in Education

Douglas Becker , Founder, Chairman and CEO, Laureate Education Inc.
Gregory Cappelli , Chairman, Apollo Global
Brooke Coburn , Managing Director and Head of Carlyle Growth Partners, The Carlyle Group
Ricardo Scavazza , Principal, Private Equity Division, Patria Investimentos

Adam Nordin , Managing Director, Credit Suisse

Economic growth, demographic growth, global competition, international trade and a natural shift to service-based economies have created significant opportunities for education providers throughout the world. But taking distance learning abroad is easier said than done, panelists said.

Demand is skyrocketing, they said, focusing on the growing markets of China, India and Brazil. People all over the globe understand the correlation between financial stability and an educated population. The four panelists agreed that transferring U.S. business models is not an easy task. To create successful ventures in global markets will take knowledge of local resources and customs.

Ricardo Scavazza researched the Brazilian market extensively before creating a culturally relevant, successful model for distance learning in that country. The model that Patria Investimentos helped create features call centers and online video chats between professors and students.

Greg Capelli said investors want providers to understand the culture, country and methodologies to ensure fruitful ventures and acquisitions in global opportunities.

Although there is significant demand for alternative educational services in the United States, demand in China, India and Brazil is staggering. Douglas Becker said the lack of government regulations has made it difficult to invest in countries like China. "China is still in that phase where it is on everyone's list but not necessarily considered a big player. It won′t happened until China gets more clarity on its own regulations," he said.

All four panelists agreed that the rest of the world doesn't quite understand the distance-learning model like the U.S. market does, making the future of that sector unclear.

  11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

The New University and Its Role in the Economy

Richard Blum , Chairman, Regents of the University of California
Michael Crow , President, Arizona State University
Susan Hockfield , President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Luc Vinet , Rector, Université de Montréal
Deborah Wince-Smith , President, Council on Competitiveness

Steve Fireng , President and CEO, Embanet ULC

As the economic climate grows bleaker, universities are increasingly being looked to as incubators of innovation and talent. However, panelists said accomplishing this goal requires the delicate balancing of two competing desires: opening universities to as many students as possible and maintaining the high quality of instruction and research.

"At the end of the day, it′s in regions and places where people create, work and add value to the economy. Universities are the fulcrum of innovation hotspots," Deborah Wince-Smith said.

The panelists agreed that universities play a crucial role because they are often a laboratory of business ideas, new products and the intellectual talent needed for growth. "Forty percent of the doctors that practice medicine in this state went to the University of California," noted Richard Blum, citing one example of the power of a university in driving a region′s economy.

The power of universities as economic engines provides great incentive for them to grow. However, "we′re not anywhere near ready to operate at scale yet," Michael Crow said. The belief that universities are underserving the nation′s needs has led Crow to oversee a dramatic expansion of the student body and course offerings at Arizona State University.

The panel agreed that American universities in particular are failing to compete globally in producing scientists and engineers. "Fifteen percent of U.S. bachelor′s degrees are in the sciences or engineering. In China, it′s 50 percent," Susan Hockfield said. The panelists concurred that the dramatic gap between the United States and other nations in the sciences could have devastating effects on the U.S. economy.

But there was heated debate as to how universities should go about generating greater intellectual capital. Hockfield warned against the type of expansion Crow championed, noting that her institution accepts just 10 percent of applicants. "If we accepted the next 10 percent," Hockfield added, "it would have a negative impact on teaching and research."

Blum blamed universities for failing to entice students into the scientific disciplines. "A lot of it is like anything else, it′s in how you market it," he said.

The panel explored whether part of the challenge lays in a general intellectual malaise in the nation at large. Hockfield said the excitement of the Apollo program drove many of her generation to pursue the sciences, and the panel largely concurred that the absence of such motivators has led to declining student interest in physics and engineering. "A culture where it′s understood that effort breeds success should be developed," Luc Vinet said.

However, Crow said the attitude problem may be confined to the leaders of higher education. "You are forced to innovate by your victories and defeats. ... We are overconfident in higher education because of our victories over the last 60 years."

  2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Work Force Development: A Differentiator in Hiring and Retaining

Peri Hansen , Senior Client Partner, Korn/Ferry International
Russ Jackson , Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Safeway
Carol Lindstrom , Vice Chairman, Deloitte LLP
Ann Huang Miller , Chief Attorney Development Officer, Latham & Watkins LLP
Brian Schipper , Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Cisco Systems Inc.

Felicia Thornton , CEO, Knowledge Universe Education U.S.

While many companies initiated development opportunities for employees well in advance of the economic downturn, it is now more essential than ever for firms to engage and enrich their work forces. To Brian Schipper, the core challenge for a lasting policy to manage human capital is, "Can you maintain the same principles of how you view talent in a downturn as you would in a good economy?"

A difficult economic climate has intensified the need for strategic vision to attract and develop the brightest talent. But as employees are asked to do more with less, short-term productivity and long-term viability may be at risk without the proper structures and incentives for work force development. Panelists revealed a number of far-sighted policies their companies have initiated to lure new hires and to take full advantage of existing talent with an eye toward continuous improvement. As the drivers of tomorrow′s economy will undoubtedly be different than those of the recent past, Carol Lindstrom noted that companies "need structural change, not new programs."

Several panelists pointed to the risks to morale and productivity that come with the cuts companies have made to remain competitive. Ann Huang Miller described a changed work environment for many employees, one where the economy has presented employees with new challenges ranging from increased work demands to stress from financial uncertainty in their personal lives.

The panel went on outline the key components for any company policy that attempts to engage and retain key talent, the most fundamental of which is information in three forms. First, to help employees cope, companies must make the logic and vision behind decisions more transparent to instill trust between the company and its employees. Second, to Russ Jackson and several other panel members, the use of 360-degree feedback has informed executives of work force vulnerabilities and opportunities while empowering workers. The final dimension deals with staff awareness of the development, health and wellness programs that are already in place to aid them.

Brian Schipper noted the rising costs of such programs, saying investment in wellness is expensive but important. "It is important to get a handle on the costs of these programs, but critical to show the firm′s commitment to its employees," he said.

Moderator Felicia Thornton said each firm seeking to hire and retain talent faces the difficult task of differentiating itself from competitors. Many have added expansive opportunities for management education and professional development along with health and wellness programs that include on-site medical care, exercise facilities and day care. Recent initiatives seek to give people time to do things that they value in the community and make managerial decisions earlier in their careers. People may then return to enrich the workplace with their experiences.

Thornton cited a recent Deloitte study showing many executives will seek to use the downturn to attract talent. "This really can be an investment time," Peri Hansen agreed.

  4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Infusing Technology into Education for Economic Competitiveness

L. Michael Golden , Corporate Vice President, Education Products Group, Microsoft Corp.
Glenn Kleiman , Executive Director, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation; Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, North Carolina State University
Keith Krueger , CEO, Consortium on School Networking
Bette Manchester , Executive Director, Maine International Center for Digital Learning; former Director of Special Projects, Maine Learning Technology Initiative

Jim Goodnight , CEO, SAS

The nation must change how it views education and put technology at the forefront, panelists said. True systematic change is the only way to assure that children are getting the best education possible.

Glenn Kleiman discussed the importance of a new model for education. He made many audience members smile with two pictures of American classrooms. One was taken in 1907 and one in 2002, but they were eerily similar. "About 100 years have passed, and while some changes have occurred, we still have a classroom that is still designed with Industrial Age ideas," Kleiman said.

Bette Manchester said a program she helped design in Maine gave middle school students access to laptops around the clock. "We made sure that we had equity and access for all students and all teachers in the state," she said. The program tried to build a culture of innovation with the work of parents, students, and teachers. By building a culture of innovation, they were also able to tackle the issue of teacher isolation, she said.

Educators need to view students as customers, Keith Krueger said, and tailor learning to meet their needs. "Even our best students are bored," he said. The technology kids use at home is banned from school, whether it be iPods, laptops or cell phones. Krueger said students are clear about what they want; educators need to make sure those needs are being met to keep students engaged and competitive.

L. Michael Golden said amazing things are in fact happening in education such as Microsoft′s Imagine Cup, but it is important to improve and build on such programs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

  9:30 AM - 10:45 AM

The Post-Secondary Education Market: Is Online Education Coming of Age?

Charles Edelstein , CEO, Apollo Group Inc.
Steve Fireng , President and CEO, Embanet ULC
Mernoy Harrison Jr. , Vice President and Executive Vice Provost, Arizona State University Online and Extended Education
Murat Tarimcilar , Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Associate Professor of Decision Sciences, George Washington University

Susan Wolford , Managing Director and Group Head, Business Services and Media, BMO Capital Markets Corp.

Four million students took an online course in the fall of 2007, a 12 percent increase from 2006. To respond to the rise in demand, not-for-profit and for-profit education organizations are increasing online offerings for students, encountering opportunities and challenges as they try to meet the need.

A benefit of online education is educating students who traditionally fall outside the regular criteria for admissions. Many of these students, identified as adult learners, have risk factors — having children, being single parents or having full-time jobs — that have excluded them from traditional education. These students turn to the University of Phoenix, part of the Apollo Group, and other online education programs for their convenience.

Mernoy Harrison Jr. said another benefit to online education is that classes are not limited by room size.

Panelists said it was important to match online offerings to the different missions of each organization. For instance, the University of Phoenix aims for flexibility to serve working adults. Arizona State University educates as many students as possible to meet the demands of the state′s population. And George Washington University focuses on making online coursework consistent with its on-campus courses.

The University of Phoenix business model is grounded in customer service. The organization maintains a teacher-to-student ratio of approximately 17:1. It has a higher percentage of African-American and Hispanic students as well as more female students than traditional schools.

Challenges include meeting the quality standards of traditional campuses. Murat Tarimclilar noted that getting the faculty to buy in to GW's online programs was a significant barrier to improving the perceived quality of online courses.

The University of Phoenix tries to maintain quality through a low student-to-teacher ratio and through faculty-driven courses that are offered to a large number of students.

Steve Fireng said the reality is that online students generally perform as well or better than their counterparts on campus, largely because of rigorous standards and the transparency of student participation in an online environment. Fireng added that the online education platform encourages debate and conversation.

As more people turn to online education, the perception of quality and student performance will continue to improve, the panelists said.

  11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

The Stimulus Bill and Education: How Can the Money be Spent Wisely?

William Bennett , Former U.S. Secretary of Education; Author, America: The Last Best Hope
Roland Fryer Jr. , CEO, The Education Innovation Laboratory, Harvard University
Kevin Johnson , Mayor, City of Sacramento
Barry O’Callaghan , Chairman, Education Media and Publishing Group; CEO, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Caprice Young , CEO, KC Distance Learning

Lowell Milken , Chairman and Co-Founder, Milken Family Foundation; Co-Founder, Knowledge Universe Education; Founder, Teacher Advancement Program (TAP)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has targeted $77 billion for the U.S. K-12 education system, funding that is to be invested quickly, productively and transparently. Such a massive injection holds the potential to fund a generation of education reforms. But it could also fund many of the same programs that have produced little improvement in public education over the past several decades. Some of America's leading education experts came together to identify priorities for education spending, define strategies that could improve student performance and close the minority achievement gap, and suggest practical reforms that will make U.S. education more competitive with other nations.

  2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

India's Human Capital: Educating the World's Largest Population of Children

Pramod Maheshwari , Founder and CEO, Career Point
Grace Pinto , Managing Director, Ryan International Group of Institutions
Anand Sudarshan , Managing Director and CEO, Manipal Education
Jeremy Williams , Chief Academic Officer, Knowledge Universe Education

Dilip Thakore , Publisher and Editor, Education World

India's children number 1 1/2 times the population of the United States, and educating 450 million children is not one of the priorities of the Indian government, according to Moderator Dilip Thakore of Education World. Of the 450 million children in India, just 10 million will go on to higher education.

Grace Pinto of Ryan International Group has started more than 200 private schools across the country. Among the biggest challenges are the rules and regulations for creating private schools in the different states in India. As a result, she said it is important to develop a friendly relationship with the state and national government to create more educational opportunities for children. Pinto also noted that one must take into account the different languages and cultures that exist in the country when creating schools in different states.

If a foreigner is interested in investing in India′s educational system, she said, it is essential to have a credible Indian partner to help navigate the educational system. While is it challenging to start up a private school as a foreigner, it is possible through private-public partnerships, Pinto said. Moderator Dilip Thakore emphasized how challenging it is to create private education institutions in India and said the government "doesn′t want to do it themselves, but they don′t want others to do it."

Pramod Maheshwari brought about another point about the competitiveness of higher education in India. Although only 10 million students will continue onto higher education, there are just six educational institutes that meet global education standards. Thus private career coaching to prepare students for acceptance into these institutions is a competitive business. Accessibility to career coaching is a major challenge, and one way Maheshwari said that United States can help is through technology that will allow the delivery of education to remote, rural locations. The fact that 80 percent of rural schools do not have electricity remains a major problem.

Another challenge is teacher absenteeism of around 25 percent, Jeremy Williams said. "Part of the problem is that there is a disconnect between the learner and the teacher," he said. In addition, little has changed in India's curriculum in the past 60 years, and teacher training is far outdated.

Anand Sudarshan was more optimistic, saying opportunities certainly exist in India. Individual aspirations are extremely high, and the lengths to which middle-class families will go to for their children′s education is remarkable, he said.

An audience member asked about the lack of education for girls. Generally, girls are not allowed to continue beyond fifth grade, Pinto said. However, the private sector has been able to reach out to young girls by providing evening classes. Special education is weakness in India's public education system, but private schools are addressing the issue, including Pinto′s Ryan Group.

  2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Developing, Selecting and Training the Next Generation of Leaders

Jeffrey Cohn , New York Practice Leader, Spencer Stuart
Robert Damon , President, North America, Korn/Ferry International
John Haley , President and CEO, Watson Wyatt Worldwide
Ilene Lang , President and CEO, Catalyst Inc.

Joel Kurtzman , Senior Fellow, Milken Institute; Executive Director, SAVE

There is an acute need for leadership talent around the world. Many developing nations are experiencing a shortage of well-trained managers for their rapidly growing business needs, while the West is seeing the beginning of a huge wave of baby boomer retirements. What are the implications of this growing leadership gap? What makes a good leader? How can organizations develop talent and promote the right people?

Each of the panelists shared theories on the qualities shared by good leaders. As Robert Damon of Korn/Ferry International said, "Talent makes a difference." He identified good leaders as those who are self-aware, realistic optimists and are never satisfied with the status quo. Jeffrey Cohn of Spencer Stuart, who does succession planning for large organizations, suggested that effective leaders demonstrate practical intelligence, social savvy and the emotional intelligence to question their own assumptions.

John Haley from Watson Wyatt boldly suggested that sometimes the best leaders are those who take risks — and those individuals may not have succeeded in their previous position. All agreed being a good team player is integral to being a successful and effective leader.

Ilene Lang of Catalyst observed that the CEO leadership shortage around the world may be in part due to women being held back from high-level positions. She questioned why women — who represent more than 50 percent of college degree-holders and more than 50 percent of middle management — hold only 15 percent of business leadership positions in the United States. She suggested that CEOs hire those people who are like them, resulting in more white men at the top levels of a company.

Damon offered an opposing point of view, hypothesizing that women will break through the barriers that exist as the Title IX generation matures in the workplace. His firm is researching the notion that equality in college athletics will result in significant differences in the leadership style of women. As competition, leadership and team skills are reinforced through team sports, more women will advance to leadership roles over the next 10 years.

The securing good leadership for any given company lies in the hiring and development process. Lang suggested it is important to bring more people into the hiring process that have different perspectives in order to advance leaders who will branch out from traditionally held stereotypes of what a CEO should be. She argues that diversity improves an organization. Lang also suggests that accountability through metrics and goals will encourage an organization's leaders to take employee development seriously. Haley suggested companies need to set up a process for two-way communication so employees will know what they need to do to succeed.

Damon contended that leadership development only advance when leadership values are incorporated into the company culture. Cohn suggests that companies identify employees with a high potential for leadership early in their careers and groom those individuals through mentoring and development programs. When these high-potential leaders are promoted, it results in better succession planning for key positions across all levels.

  4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Transformative Technologies in K-12 Education

Bruce Friend , Director, SAS Curriculum Pathways
Greg Gunn , Chief Scientist and Co-Founder, Wireless Generation Inc.
Ronald Packard , Chairman and Founder, K12 Inc.
Caprice Young , CEO, KC Distance Learning

Michael Horn , Executive Director, Education, Innosight Institute

Chalk-and-talk lectures aren't enough for the Xbox generation. Innovative technology improves teacher quality and student performance, individualizes education and engages students so they become lifelong learners, according to Ronald Packard and a panel of experts.

Nevertheless, the panelists said a lot of bad technology exists; as Bruce Friend said, it's just as easy to bore and disengage students online as it is in the classroom. Greg Gunn said a lot of technology that is time-consuming for teachers and lacks a clear instructional purpose has been shoveled into classrooms.

Friend said he's concerned because teachers often fail to use technology in transformational ways. Some schools with technology don't use it, he said, and many teachers are proud just to be using PowerPoint.

Teachers who embrace technology are replacing those who don′t, Friend said. Technology grows more sophisticated every year, and online content can easily be adapted to changes in science and technology. When Pluto was downgraded from a planet, K12 Inc.'s online materials reflected it the next day, Packard said.

Traditional education now is in many ways the same as in the 1920s when Firestone and Ford needed workers for factories, Friend said. Technology can help by developing 21st century tools that customize education to multiple learning needs. Gunn said trying to organize a classroom around individualized instruction approaches impossibility without technology, calling the challenge the "human genome project in education."

The panelists agreed that transformative technology requires a great deal of capital and needs to be brought to scale to justify the cost. Caprice Young said, "Technology-integrated learning is not about faster or even cheaper but better and different and much more customized to the next generation of kids." Friend said public-private partnerships are necessary to meet capital needs.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

  8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Alternative Public Education Systems: Delivering a High Quality K-12 Education in the 21st Century

Steve Barr , Founder and Chairman, Green Dot Public Schools
Christopher Cerf , Deputy Chancellor, Strategy and Innovation, New York City Department of Education
Eva Moskowitz , Founder and CEO, Success Charter Network
Paul Pastorek , State Superintendent of Education, Louisiana Department of Education
Richard Riordan , Former Mayor, City of Los Angeles

Eli Broad , Founder, The Broad Foundations; Founder-Chairman, KB Home and SunAmerica

"There is a link between a strong economy and a strong education system … and we are paying a great price for not having a better public education system," moderator Eli Broad said. "Our school system is broken, and alternatives are necessary."

Panelists discussed three alternative models: charter schools, mayoral control and gubernatorial control. The unifying theme was accountability.

Christopher Cerf addressed New York's experience with mayoral control, the courage required to assume leadership and the benefits of making one person accountable. "There is no silver bullet," he said, and further work is needed, but many improvements have been made under mayoral control.

Eva Moskowitz said identifying and holding a point person accountable "makes perfect sense" but is insufficient in and of itself for educational success. Mayoral control achieves accountability but does not automatically provide much control over decision making, she said. Richard Riordan agreed, describing the challenges Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa faces in managing five public schools.

Panelists spoke to "empowered leadership" and said one reason charter schools tend to be successful is because they include both accountability and delineated leadership with decision-making abilities.

Moskowitz said an underlying problem with the public education system is that labor contracts are designed for adults not for enhanced learning. Steve Barr said he has worked successfully with labor unions when setting up charter schools. Contracts are written in reaction to systems, he said, so fixing the system impact contracts, too. If the educational system recognizes and respects teachers, contract changes can be achieved. Barr agreed, though, that holding a single person accountable is necessary for success.

After accountability, "the next stage of education redesign is the portfolio management approach," Paul Pastorek said. He discussed Louisiana′s experience with a recovery school district implementation after Hurricane Katrina. Leadership was passed to the governor, and the state now has a streamlined central office that pushes control to the school level and functions as an "evaluator of the operator."

He said "diffused responsibility" characterizes the current public education, and that must be addressed at every level when rethinking the system. "We know how to better educate our children," he said. "But until we′re able to hold someone accountable, we′re just whistling in the wind."

  9:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Rx for Failing Schools: High Test, High Tech

Judy Burton , President and CEO, Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools
Marlene Canter , Member, Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education
Christina Cleugh , Education Consultant; Former Online and In-Classroom Teacher and Trainer
Carlos Garcia , Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District
Donald Knezek , CEO, International Society for Technology in Education
James Konantz , Regional Vice President, K12 Inc.

Thomas Boysen , Chief Learning Officer, GlobalScholar

Technology can help the nation's schools improve student achievement and measure performance beyond the use of standardized tests, according to a panel of experts.

Some panelists suggested starting with the technology students are already familiar with — their own. "We have to figure out how we can integrate the tools that kids bring to school, like by having lessons they can listen to on an iPod," Carlos Garcia said. "Imagine if we could find a way to use text messaging in an instructional way. In education we′re just so far behind where we could be."

Judy Burton said her organization's public charter school network uses a combination of technology and focusing on student performance to enhance instruction and measure adherance to state standards.

"We′ve changed our grading system from being based on a teacher's assignment of work to a student's proficiency on a state standard," Burton said. "Via technology, we won′t communicate a specific grade about how a student did on a book report, but how they did in relation to a state standard."

Marlene Canter also advocated focusing classroom technology on measuring student achievement. And Donald Knezek recommended measuring achievement beyond the use of standardized tests. "We measure what kids can do on standardized tests, not how many college-level classes they′ve taken or what they′ve actually learned upon leaving high school," he said.

Another recommendation by panelists is to provide tools allowing teachers to instruct at all levels within a classroom, not just to the median. James Konantz suggested using technology to help teachers base instruction on individual students' needs.

Engaging students is a significant challenge to overcoming low student achievement, panelists said. "We aren′t engaging students the way we should; it′s an antiquated way of teaching," Canter said.

Panelists said education must go beyond textbooks to involve other mechanisms. "Textbooks are a resource but not even a primary resource for us," Burton said. "We rely on concrete learning experiences."

In the end, the panel agreed that, while technology has its benefits, effective teachers are most important. "You must have an effective teacher in front of every classroom. If you don′t start there, no matter what technology you use, you won′t be successful," Burton said.

  11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Early Childhood Education at a Crossroads

Ken Jaffe , President and Executive Director, International Child Resource Institute
Eric Karolak , Executive Director, Early Care and Education Consortium
Roger Neugebauer , President, World Forum Foundation
Glen Thomas , Secretary of Education, State of California
Dennis Vicars , Executive Director, Professional Association for Childhood Education Alternative Payment Program

Fran Durekas , Founder and Chief Development Officer, Children's Creative Learning Centers Inc.

The importance of providing children with a strong early education is beyond debate, but how to extend early childhood education to more American families — through public, private or hybrid models — is in dispute.

Roger Nuegebauer of the World Forum Foundation said early childhood education has exploded since the middle of last century.

"Today we find that three out five children in the United States are enrolled in early childhood education as opposed to one in 10 in the 1960s," he said. "Today early child care is a $45 billion business employing over a million individuals in the United States."

Eric Karolak of the Early Care and Education Consortium laid the groundwork for the debate. "As much as has happened and as significant as an investment has occurred, there are questions about what′s next. Are we going to follow a traditional institutional model or we going to follow a child-centric model?" Karolak said. Among his other questions: Should the nation lean toward a public, private or hybrid model for early childhood education? What standards should be set for these programs?

Glen Thomas, California secretary of education, said California needs "regionalized services and regionalized boards" to address early childhood education. "The needs of Imperial County are not the same as the needs of Santa Barbara County," Thomas said. "It is very difficult to have one model, one voice for kids across these areas."

The labor pool is another issue in California, said Dennis Vicars of the Professional Association for Childhood Education Alternative Payment Program. "The potential number of workers is shrinking along with the right worker pool," he said.

Panelists said that childhood education in the United States is at a crossroads. A sound investment strategy and proper goal-setting is needed to assure smarter, stronger and more confident children, they said.

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