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(Photo by Nick Pandolfo)

In a spirited panel, 10 state governors sat down with Brian Williams to discuss the state of education in America. They spoke and took questions about a wide range of topics: from how to evaluate teachers to the the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers that were announced by President Obama last Friday, to for-profit programs and partnerships taking place across the country. A point brought up multiple times by teachers during the day related to how teachers can share knowledge and experiences. A teacher from the audience said to the panel of governors, “We need to share best practices on a pedagogical level. How do you get best practices out there and share them?”

NBC was criticized by some for putting on a summit at last year’s Education Nation that was anti-teacher and pro-charter school, especially with the focus on the then-recently-released conversation starter Waiting for Superman. “It was all built around Waiting for Superman,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association. “And this year it’s very different. I think the overall atmosphere is much more positive.”

The Hechinger Report sat down with president of NBC Steve Capus to ask him if that criticism had anything to do with the tone of this year’s summit being more positive and focused on teachers (NBC had cameras broadcasting live from three classrooms).

“I think we’ve got a broader, deeper agenda this year,” said Capus. “Last year was a snapshot of where the education space was focused. Superman was of that moment, the reform moment. Michelle Rhee was on the world stage — so we spent a lot of time talking about that. This year I think it’s a little bit different. Funding is a huge issue right now. The collision between states and the feds and states rights. Teacher quality continues to be a hot-button issue so you’re hearing a lot of discussion about that.”

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