Highlights of 2013 Education Summit

Nine-year-old education activist Asean Johnson speaks out

10/17/2013, 9 a.m.
Did you know that by the age of three, children from low-income families have heard 30 million fewer words than ...
Asean Johnson speaking with reporters at summit.

Did you know that by the age of three, children from low-income families have heard 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers? NBC News has made it their mission to engage the country in “solution-focused conversation about the state of education in America.”

For the past four years, this summit has brought together policy-makers, educators, parents and this year a nine-year old boy with a poignant message for his community.

One of the more controversial topics discussed at the summit was the Common Core curriculum.

Asean Johnson, 9, a Chicago native, received a lot of attention last May when he spoke at a hometown rally after it was announced that 54 elementary schools were scheduled for closing. His speech went viral and ever since then he’s been asked to speak at all kinds of events, including the Essence Music Festival.

While appearing on The Ed Show, he talked about his appearance at Education Nation and talked about how much he was grateful to have helped his school stay open. Johnson said that without him speaking up his school wouldn’t have received iPads for educational use.

Moreover, he said that since his appearance, he has witnessed an increasing number of youth standing up and demanding more resources for public schools. Johnson has definitely started conversation, not only in Chicago but across the nation.

Olympic gold medalist, Allyson Felix, also made appearances at the Summit in New York City last week. She was a panelist for a discussion entitled, “Healthy Living.”

Felix said that she has a passion for youth and is dedicated to improving the quality of education received in urban schools. Her platform also includes increasing funds for physical fitness and bringing related activities back into classrooms. She says without school sports, she never would have discovered her athletic talents.

Felix has even gotten the attention of First lady Michelle Obama who is also a major advocate for education and health and was recently invited to join Obama’s Let’s Move campaign which addresses childhood obesity.