Former Secretary of Education Visits Honors College

Bill Bennett talks to students about raising teaching standards in nation's schools

UM students meet with former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett in the Lyceum to discuss topics ranging from education to politics.

OXFORD, Miss. – Former U. S. Secretary of Education William “Bill” Bennett, host of the nationally syndicated radio program “Morning in America,” talked with Honors College students during a round table forum earlier this week at the University of Mississippi.

Bennett’s offering of seasoned insight about education in the United States was driven by a prepared group of students.

“It was a very well-prepared group of students,” Bennett said. “They presented very well.”

The discussion at the round table was driven by questions from students, calling upon Bennett’s extensive experience and insight into the American education system.

“As part of a functioning economy, people are worried about jobs and have a certain nervousness about what the future holds,” Bennett said. “I think when you are studying, you need to get an idea of the possible job prospects.”

Bennett suggested pushing for a stronger teaching core around the country to help students achieve more while earning an education.

“I think excellence in teaching is critical, and it needs to encourage the reward,” he said. “I think anything that promotes raising the bar and raising standards is a great idea.”

Bennett also entertained questions about the Chicago schools shutdown, the rise of technology and the online classroom, national and statewide standardized testing, and the implementation of Common Core State Standards.

As he parted ways with the group, he was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the panel’s questions. “They had done their homework, and that is all a teacher can ask of their students.”