Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

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Workforce Summit Attracts International, National and State Leaders to IMSA

Global, national and state leaders came together for a global cause during an October workforce development summit at IMSA that attracted hundreds on an early Friday morning.

The "How to Prepare Our Workforce for a Global Economy" Summit was led by featured speaker Andreas Schleicher, called 'The World's Schoolmaster' in an Atlantic magazine profile.  Schleicher is head of the Indicators and Analysis Division (Directorate for Education) for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France.

IMSA students and those from West Aurora High School meet with Andreas Schleicher following his presentation at IMSA.
Panelists John Rico, Miguel del Valle, Robin Steans and Dr. George Reid discuss state and international educational policy.
Panelist John Rico, reflecting on his youth at Cabrini Green in Chicago, stated "education is the only way out."

The event highlighted the collaboration occurring in Aurora and throughout Illinos to support student success and how international education data can inform change at the state and local levels to help better prepare students to be successful in a global economy.

Following Schleicher's presentation, panelists remarked on how it related to state and national educational goals.  Panelists (pictured) included:

Miguel del Valle, Chair of the Illinois P-20 Council

Dr. George Reid, Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education

Robin Steans, Executive Director of Advance Ilinois

John Rico, Co-chair of the Illinois Workforce Investment Board and President and CEO of Rico Computer Enterprises

Participating organizations in the conference included West Aurora School District 129, the City of Aurora, the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, and other area educational institutions.

IMSA student Johnny Duan reflected on the summit data presented from results on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test.

"It was interesting to see the increase in the pervasiveness of college education over the last two decades plotted relative to increases in cost," Duan said.  "This graph revealed a disturbing trend:  while all industrialized nations sucessfully increase college attendance, the United States did so to a lesser degree despite skyrocketing costs,"  he added.  "Other countries also received due attention:  Finland was lauded as a stellar performer, making all the right sacrifices to achieve a highly educated and competent population at very low cost."

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