More than 400 community leaders and key stakeholders in education, state government and business gathered Thursday evening to kick off a unique three-day summit devoted to the most pressing issue facing New York's schools - an achievement gap that leaves behind far too many children.
NYSUT's conference, "Every Child Counts: A symposium dedicated to ending the Gap," opened to a packed hall at the Desmond Hotel in Colonie. After expanding registration twice, the symposium regretfully had to turn away some individuals, said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue, who oversaw the planning for the event.
The opening night, which featured NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi, State Education Commissioner Richard Mills, and noted media commentator and national political strategist Donna Brazile, also attracted a great deal of media attention.
CNN commentator and national political strategist Donna Brazile speaks to a reporter before delivering the keynote address in Albany tonight.
The symposium continues Friday and Saturday with thought-provoking discussions on problems affecting students who live in poverty and, disproportionately, children of color. It features national experts in education, urban sociology, language development and community involvement.
In his opening remarks, Iannuzzi challenged participants to open their minds, take risks and focus on "what might work instead of what doesn't."