Many Fast-Moving Topics at The Atlantic’s 2nd Annual Education Summit

By Mark Walsh — May 17, 2016 1 min read

The Atlantic magazine holds its second annual Education Summit Tuesday and Wednesday, with a jam-packed schedule that seemingly addresses every hot topic in K-12 and higher education with a speaker or panel discussion lasting no more than a half-hour each.

The magazine says it “will illuminate the most pressing debates in the education world today, from cradle to college.”

Day one is May 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre at George Washington University in Washington. (I’m sorry, but I refuse to use the “The” before the university’s name.)

The first day is all about K-12, from the broad view (“Education in a Changing America: A Wide-Angle Lens”) to the specific (“The Future of Common Core,” “The Tragedy of Detroit Public Schools,” “Two Hundred Million Dollars Later: The Story of Newark.”)

The first day is also when the winner and semi-finalists of the The Atlantic and the College Board Writing Prize will be announced. The contest is for high school essays that “insightfully analyze and interpret a meaningful work of art.” The semi-finalists get one-on-one sessions with members of The Atlantic’s editorial staff, while the winner gets $5,000 and publication in the September issue of the magazine.

Day Two, on May 18, is only a half-day, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., devoted to higher education, with panels such as “Why Does College Cost So Much?,” “The Age of the Adjunct,” and “What’s the Point of College?”

There’s actually an hour set aside for “Race, Speech, and Campus Protests,” but lest audience members accustomed to the relatively short sessions become bored, that hour is broken up into “The Students’ Take” and “The Administrators’ Take.”

I don’t mean to criticize the tight agendas. I’ve been to countless education conferences and panel discussions over the years, and all too many have been overly long and unfocused. So The Atlantic, whose live conferences are a big part of its business, may just know what it is doing with a packed, fast-moving agenda full of half-hour sessions.

The conference will be livestreamed at Besides some high-profile speakers, there will be quite a few editors and writers from The Atlantic as moderators or participants, but also journalists from other outlets, including Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times and Education Week‘s Andrew Ujifusa.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.


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