Raleigh, N.C. — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt were among several politicians participating in a forum on education reform at North Carolina State University Tuesday.
"Building a Culture of Innovation Through Education" was sponsored by SAS, N.C. State and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., spoke on the need for quality education for all children in the 21st century. Bush focused on how competition and innovation can lead to excellence in the classroom.
Sir Ken Robinson, an author and leader in education innovation, discussed ways to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. He believes a broader curriculum and more personalized education can help.
"It's all about encouragement and support and mentorship. It's not just about delivering state standards. It's about engaging the imagination and creativity of each student," Robinson said.
State schools Superintendent June Atkinson said the state is in the process of remodeling its education system. After attending the forum, she said it is important to help teachers become more effective and look at different ways to compensate them.
The invitation-only event ended with a panel discussion on the role that universities and education play in fostering creativity and innovation. Hunt, N.C. State Chancellor Randolph Woodson and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp participated. WRAL-TV anchor David Crabtree moderated the discussion.
Business leaders attending the conference said they are concerned students and the unemployed are lacking the proper education and training.
“They have the wrong skills. This is a knowledge economy we’re working in and it always will be,” SAS Chief Executive Officer Jim Goodnight said.
Goodnight said improving the education system and making it more engaging is a top priority.
SAS software developer Scott McQuiggan believes the key to helping students is keeping them interested.
“I remember in algebra thinking, ‘How am I going to use this in the real world?’” he said. “Now, I use it every day. So, it’s making those connections.”