NEW YORK -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan put the spotlight on community colleges during the Education Nation summit this morning in New York.
Sitting down with Tom Drokaw, Duncan said funding community colleges is key to the country's economic recovery.
Duncan also said he's trying to "fundamentally change the compliance mentality" of education, and that the department of education at the federal level has to be an "engine of innovation." He says they're doing that by changes made to No Child Left Behind.
"We have to continue to reward excellence and reward courage. Under No Child Left Behind, you saw many states dummy down standards,” Duncan said. “You're now seeing that turn around. States like Tennessee are raising standards very, very substantially. They're telling the truth for the first time. They're stopping lying to children, stopping lying to parents.”
Duncan says that the changes will give incentives for educators to “change the status quo,” in order to take education reforms “to the next level.”
Duncan said that community colleges will help the economy by helping individuals all ages receive training for jobs in green energy, health care, and technology.
“Community colleges are going to help families get back on their feet,” Duncan said. “As families get back on their feet, this country is going to get back on its feet and we think there's a huge role community colleges can play in helping lead the country where we need to go."
Parents, teachers and students are meeting with leaders in politics, business and technology to talk about education today and in the future. The summit runs through Tuesday.