Time Warner Exec Talks Success
The first panel of Monday's NBC Education Nation was titled "Job One." The panel was made up of a group of businessmen and other top leaders of their professions, including Sally Ride, Dick Parsons, and others. Sally Ride is the first woman astronaut in space.Parsons is the former CEO of Time Warner, a media company.
Debates erupted into full swing during about one and a half housr of panel discussions about how to interest kids to learn more about science and math.
I spoke to Parsons, right after the discussions. The interview was not planned, but I managed to snatch a few minutes with him with the help of my Scholastic editor.
Parsons expressed views on having high expectations toward students and how to enhance interest in technology. The 21st Century is new and science is playing an important part in everybody's lives, he said.He came to be part of the Education Nation conference for that reason.
"I think we are entering an important time," he said passionately. "We're going to either embrace and make more vigorous, this public education for the public or we can walk away from it."
Parsons says he is choosing to embrace it and educate teachers and parents on how to do so as well.
As the panelists sat in front of cameras and also a live audience, Parsons was one of the main proponents of using current materials and strengthening American education with the tools we have right now. Others agreed saying that other countries have less than one tenth of the supplies we have and they are ranking higher on the overall education list.
"There are hundreds of ways that we can bring kids into math and science," he said. "We just have to be creative and find out the right innovative ways for the right kids."
When Parsons was a child, his family had high expectations for him. He developed a drive and interest in learning. For example, he never thought about not going to college or not going to school. He knew that that wasn’t the right choice and that his parents would be angry.
That brings me back to one of the discussions during the panel: how much parent involvement is needed in school for students to succeed?
"Both of my parents had certain expectations for their children in terms of achieving different milestones and improving their life," he said. "They made those expectations clear from the time before memory began."
That's strict parents from a young age—or maybe just really interested parents. Either way, it worked. The result of that strictness: a bold businessman that eventually became the CEO of Time Warner.
Parsons now wants to promote better education for everyone.
"The bottom line is that we as a country need to put more focus on educating our young people," he said. "That's got to be one thing we can't just delegate to teachers. Parents have to play a role, and young people themselves have to play a role if they don't want to be left behind."
PHOTO: Panelists at the Job One panel discuss the importance of science and math to American education. (Photo: Dante A. Ciampaglia)