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Education Nation - Washington

by Cynthia Wise, Senior Assignments Editor, KING 5 News

Posted on September 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 27 at 9:03 AM

Since Bill Gates first declared the U.S. education system "broken" in 2006, policy makers and educators have been discussing/debating possible solutions to the problems facing America's schools.

The statistics are staggering:

  •  Roughly eight percent of  U.S. students drop out of high school
  • 75-percent of those people in prison failed to graduate from high school
  •  In Washington, on time graduation rates dip as low as 38-percent
  • In Seattle Schools, 78-percent of Black students failed to pass the science portion of the MSP

This week, KING-5 Morning News is partnering with NBC News on an initiative dubbed "Education Nation."

NBC is hosting an Education Nation Summit in New York City, bringing together policy makers, business leaders and educators to address challenges facing school systems across the country. This morning the Summit featured interviews with Melinda Gates and Warren and Suzie Buffett. Gates focused her attention on the importance of teachers to any possible solution. Over the weekend she met with educators at a Teacher Town Hall and credited her favorite teacher for sparking her interest in computers.

Throughout the week here at KING-5 News we will be bringing you stories focused locally. This morning those who tuned in heard from University of Washington professor Dr Frances Contreras, author of the book "The Latino Education Crisis."

 Contreras, who specializes in equity and diversity learning, says even though students of color now make up 40-percent of the nation's student population, the system isn't really addressing their needs. She says the key to improving education is for schools to partner with parents, some of whom might have language issues or who might be intimidated by the system.

You can watch Joyce Taylor's interview with Dr. Contreras by clicking here.

Nationally, a forum was held on the changing face of education, focusing on challenges facing the Latino community. You can watch that by clicking here.

Tomorrow on KING-5 Morning News we will focus on the issues of charter schools and education as a civil right.

You can get up to the minute reports from the Summit on Twitter (@educationnation) or by going to the Education Nation website.