By ADRANISHA STEPHENS
EDTalks is an education-based speaker series that promotes innovative discussion and collaborating ideas on how to strengthen the public education system.
EdTalks are being held across West Virginia to help provide networking opportunities and education events designed to engage business, education and community leaders in an open discussion about public education issues.
“Clearly, a strong education system is the path to a better future for our state and its citizens,” said Dr. Amelia Courts, president and chief executive officer of the Education Alliance.
The event was sponsored by Bowles Rice LLC, Leadership West Virginia, Macy’s, Microsoft, MVB Bank and the Thrasher Group.
There were key speakers in attendance including Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, who chairs the House Education Committee, via broadcast; Keith Busby of Procter & Gamble; and Judge Bridget Cohee of the West Virginia 23rd Judicial Circuit.
Each shared the importance of education from their own unique perspectives and how the community can better connect education, jobs and the state’s future through outreach, volunteerism, donations and more.
Busby said that both formal and informal education is very important in the school system to help with future employment.
“I think the importance of being involved in school activities really enhances a child’s education, not just checking off a box that says I have been to school today, now that’s done and I am going to go home and play some video games,”Busby said. “I really think kids at any age should get involved, whether its sports, music, something they are passionate about. My point is, as we look at the point of education and learning, there are many different skills to learn, such as developing critical thinking skills, problem solving, how to become an effective leader, dealing with conflict and challenge, upset and failure … Really to me through extracurricular activities that is fostered and so important for future job requirements.”
Judge Cohee said she wants the community to focus on helping the affected youth of West Virginia by strengthening early childhood education from ages 0-3.
According to Cohee, every dollar invested in early childhood education provides 7-10 percent per annum return in better education.
“As we know, every child has basic needs like touch — something so simple is so important at an early age. Kids need stable relationships, to feel safe and supported. They need a healthy environment to play and learn, reducing any harm around them. But most importantly, a proper education is important to function well in society,” Cohee said. “A lot of my work at the circuit court deals in abused children and juvenile delinquency. When children don’t have the proper at home care with services provided including the education component, they could end up a part of the system as adults. The cost to society of not taking take of our children is enormous- in treatment and jail, and it is a loss of the human resource, the workforce that we need for the future. Quality early childcare aimed at learning about others, learning self control and learning empathy is one significant and effective way that our community can reinvest our efforts to create quality care and meaningful jobs to impact the future.”
For more information, visit EducationAlliance.Org/EDTalks.