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What If? ‘Tweeting’ the Historic 1989 Education Summit

By Alyson Klein — September 25, 2014 1 min read
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This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the national education summit in Charlottesville, Va., which ultimately provided a big boost for the standards movement. The event, which was called by President George H.W. Bush to help further his pledge to be the nation’s “education president” and included nearly every governor, culminated in a promise to set “national education goals” and to figure out a way to hold policymakers accountable for meeting them.

You can read all about it—and how the two-day gathering contributed to creation of the common core and today’s discussion of standards—here.

Of course, if the summit were taking place today, it would be all over social media. Participants would be posting pictures of themselves standing next to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, or tweeting a panel discussion featuring former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett and the governors.

Would that have had a major impact on the policies put forth by the summit, the way that social media has helped to fuel opposition to the Common Core State Standards? It’s impossible to answer that question without a time machine. But one thing is almost certain: Social media would have made the summit a lot more fun for education journalists to cover.

Here’s what Edweek’s Twitter feed might have looked like:

More on Cavazos’ tenure as education secretary here. (And thanks to the eagle-eyed reader who pointed out that the old tweet should read “Lauro F. Cavazos, not “E.”)

They were. Here’s our story on the congressional response to the summit.

How close did we come by about 1999? Check out this story

Here’s our coverage of that session.

Much of the key work at the summit was done behind closed doors, at the Boar’s Head Inn near the University of Virginia. We wrote about it several months later here.

The goals were ultimately unveiled in Bush’s 1990 state of the union address, which you can read here.

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