By WRAL Tech Wire STEM News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The third annual NC Chamber Education Summit was held last week in Chapel Hill and focused on the need for bold new efforts to encourage more corporate involvement in strengthening the education system.

Kirsten Weeks, community affairs manager with Cisco Systems and chair on the NC Chamber Education Committee, outlined several key policy recommendations supported by the committee during the meeting held at The Friday Center.

Those recommendations included more investments in innovative, results-based education programs; holding educators to high standards with results-based outcomes; preparing all graduates with a strong grounding in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) along with key critical thinking and group dynamic skills; and stronger collaboration and unified efforts to connect business and education needs.

“Education is absolutely essential to the state’s economic competiveness, “said Weeks. “There is a lot of research showing what works (in education), and what we need to do to move forward. The recommendations highlight a lot of those successful areas.”

“We want to help move our state’s education efforts forward, organize future business/education projects, and highlight the business community’s current investments toward making North Carolina the best state for education and business,” noted NC Chamber President Lew Ebert during his opening address.

Noted Harvard economist and education researcher Ronald Ferguson, the summit’s keynote speaker, talked about how successful education initiatives bring together numerous community resources – parents, teachers, businesses and others – to address intractable problems.

“There’s a lot of work to be done that’s nobody’s job to do,” said Ferguson.

The group of 120 business and education leaders listened to Ferguson as he called on top, charismatic influencers – in schools, universities, corporations, politics, civic organizations, and philanthropists – to serve as the major engines behind making the U.S. education system competitive again and ensure this isn’t the `Age of China.”’

NC Chamber has a few videos from the summit available for viewing online. Click here to watch.

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