This past week Twitter officially filed to go public and sell its shares on the stock exchange for the first time. Estimates project this could help the company raise $1 billion dollars on the initial sale. Launched in 2006 as a way to send short text messages to groups of people, Twitter has quickly become the "go-to" tool to post and receive instant updates on what's going on in the world.
Now, we can know instantly when our favorite celebrity/sports hero has a meltdown or what the guy in the next cubicle is having for lunch. Clearly the lines between "my business" and "your business" have, for better or for worse, been forever blurred by social media.
But what about the issues that really are everyone's business? How much attention are we paying to those? Another item released recently in statewide news, WV Kids Count reported that more than 7 in 10 West Virginia students are not reading proficiently at the end of third grade. And reading proficiency is a critical predictor of how many students are at risk for dropping out of school in the future.
As we think about the tremendous opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for our state's economy, the connection between jobs and education is obvious. West Virginia will need each and every one of our state's 280,000 public school students not only to graduate, but to be fully prepared for the complex and high tech jobs of the future. Certainly that connection in and of itself makes education everyone's business.
Maybe it's time to make education a statewide trending topic. How can we all support West Virginia schools to improve student learning? How can we better prepare our students for jobs in the future? Why is education your business?
On Nov. 5, The Education Alliance will host a summit titled "Excellence in Education: It's Everyone's Business" at the Charleston Civic Center. The summit will provide a focused discussion on specific challenges we confront including; helping children read proficiently by third grade and setting higher achievement standards and accountability for education outcomes. Sponsored in collaboration with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, we invite you to join business, education and community leaders for a discussion on how we can work together to achieve excellence in education in West Virginia. Also, you can join the conversation online at #wvedmybusiness or tweet us your thoughts at @theedualliance.
None of us can predict whether the Twitter stock will soar or crash in the next five years. Regardless, the pressure to be in the loop with what's going on 24/7 is only going to continue. And the pitfall that we must all avoid is being distracted from a focus on the things that really matter. Without a doubt, our state's children, their ability to read, to learn, and to be the knowledge workers of our state's future economy deserve our undivided attention. Let's make education our number one business.
Courts is president and CEO of The Education Alliance.