This week, NBC News has been hosting the fourth annual Education Nation summit, exploring the central theme “What It Takes”. Or “What It Takes” for us as a nation to ensure students are successfully prepared for college, career and beyond,” according to Education Nation’s official website. Naturally, since education is an important topic in the national dialogue, people from all corners joined in the discussion.

I am an avid Twitter-user (the journalist in me is used to crowdsourcing, covering events and keeping up-to-date with what is trending), so I followed the conversation online via the hashtag “#EducationNation.”

Never before have I felt so engaged and interested in what is going on with education in America, but really education has always been a part of my life. I was a public school kid in Florida – riddled with low standards and FCAT controversies, and I attended a state university. I worked on my college’s student newspaper and attempted to keep administrators, university officials and state officials accountable to the 40,000+ students there.

Now, through AmeriCorps, I am working in a ninth grade classroom with high school freshmen from all walks of life. It is easy to make generalizations about education, as people at the summit pointed out. Lawmakers who have never led a classroom pass and sign off on detrimental laws and reporters work on scandals and negative aspects without understanding the bureaucracy. On a given day, I see more stories about teachers abusing students in the news than I do about anything else in the school systems.

Education is the key, we can all agree on that. Education is the key to a successful, prosperous life. It will open the doors to students who don’t have much and it builds our next generation of leaders. The least we can do as a nation, is have a greater understanding of the key issues in school – poverty, students going hungry, funding, standardized testing, students being passed from one teacher to the next/one grade to the next, etc. so that we can better understand the obstacles facing our most valuable asset – the next generation.

The #EducationNation dialogue was only the beginning. Check out my Storify collection of tweets I found interesting from today’s discussion.

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