Among those attending the summit were William Bennett, Lamar Alexander, Richard Riley, Lauro Cavazos and current Education Secretary Rod Paige.
In 1983, the United States issued a report, "A Nation At Risk," that told parents the public schools were failing. Former North Carolina Governor James Hunt, board chairman of the Institute, said states have to set priorities and sometimes make sacrifices. He believes education is the ultimate priority.
Alexander said parents often say children are asked to do much more than their parents in school. He said the minimum skills required to perform jobs are higher than in most parents' time.
The education secretaries also said children are now expected to know more and perform better.
Cavazos suggested after-school tutorials, longer school days, longer school years, stronger curriculums, better-trained teachers and adequate resources.
The educators said inattention to the achievement gap between white and minority students will hold U.S. public schools back.
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