He interviews politicians, scholars, and performers every week. But of all the national issues that broadcast journalist Tavis Smiley addresses in his TV and radio shows, education is paramount, he says.
At Seattle Pacific University’s 15th annual 2011 Downtown Business Breakfast on April 8, 2011, Smiley challenged more than 1,200 attendees from the city’s business and education communities to advocate for better schools for all children. “There’s still a divide between our promise and our real possibility,” he said, stressing the importance of putting children’s needs first.
Smiley’s speech followed addresses by SPU President Philip Eaton and Washington governor Chris Gregoire, who spoke about her plans to improve education oversight in the state. “We can’t be economically competitive without being educationally competitive,” she said.
The morning closed out with a panel discussion on strategies for how to improve public education, moderated by Smiley. Panel participants were Andrew Lumpe, associate dean of graduate programs and director of doctoral programs in Seattle Pacific’s School of Education; Mary Alice Heuschel Ed.D. ’04, superintendent of Renton School District and 2011 Washington State Superintendent of the Year; John Medina, director of SPU’s Brain Center for Applied Learning; and Michael Copland, senior program officer of the Gates Foundation.