2020 Vision: Education Policy and Politics Beyond the Midterms

2020 Vision: Education Policy and Politics Beyond the Midterms

At this live event, Education Week and The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development join forces for a look at the 2018 midterm elections and what education issues and controversies are likely to resonate in the fast-approaching 2020 election year, with control of both the White House and Congress in the balance.

Join us for this half-day event at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington, D.C., for incisive analysis and one-on-one discussions of how K-12 education helped shape this year’s campaigns and election outcomes, and what’s in store for the next round in this continuing national debate.


Nov. 28, 2018
11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET

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  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. | Event Registration and Luncheon
    Jack Morton Auditorium Foyer and 2nd Floor Reception Atrium
  • 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. | Welcome and Introductions
    Mark W. Bomster, deputy managing editor, Education Week
    Michael Feuer, dean, the George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development
    Scott Montgomery, editor-in-chief, Education Week
  • 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. | Gearing Up for the 2020 Elections
    Using a wide, national lens informed by up-to-the-minute data, Maria Voles Ferguson, executive director of the Center on Education Policy at the George Washington University, unpacks what was on voters’ minds in this year’s midterm elections on a range of issues and concerns including education, and what it means for the runup to 2020.
  • 1:15 to 2:00 p.m. | K-12 on the Campaign Trail
    Teachers and other educators ran for office in record numbers this year, aiming take their activism over pay and funding to the next stage. Education Week reporters Daarel Burnette II and Madeline Will interview educators fresh off the campaign trail about what they heard from voters, how they fought to get their message across, and lessons for those who want to follow in their footsteps.
    Guests include:
    R. Travis Brenda, math teacher, Rockcastle County High School, Mt. Vernon, Ky., and candidate for Kentucky's 71st House District seat
    Jahana Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the Year, talent and professional-development supervisor for Waterbury, Conn., public schools, and candidate for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District
    John Waldron, social studies teacher, Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa, Okla., and candidate for Oklahoma state Senate
  • 2:00 to 2:40 p.m. | Keynote: Equity, Inequality, and the Future of Educational Opportunity
    Prominent civil rights activist Wade Henderson joins Mark W. Bomster, deputy managing editor at Education Week, and Michael Feuer, dean of the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, for a wide-ranging discussion of how current political and social pressures bear on the quest to assure all students a quality education and a conducive learning environment.
  • 2:40 to 3:00 p.m. | Networking Break — 2nd Floor Reception Atrium
  • 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. | Social Climate, Polarization, and Its Import for 2020
    Drawing on an original survey of K-12 educators’ political orientation and views on a range of pivotal issues, Education Week Assistant Editor Alyson Klein paints a portrait of teachers, principals, and others on the front lines of debate. She sits down with a handful of educators about how this affects their interactions in the classroom and their communities at a time of sharp social polarization, and what they think it means for the political contests ahead.
    Guests include:
    Dennis Barger, principal, Vail Academy and High School, Tucson, Ariz.
    Jeanne Collins, superintendent of schools, Rutland Northeast S U 36, Brandon, Vt.
  • 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. | K-12 Priorities Up for Grabs
    Now that the midterms are behind us, what’s ahead for education priorities in the new Congress, and what’s the outlook for the Trump administration’s new and unfinished policy priorities? Education Week Assistant Editor Andrew Ujifusa pinpoints key policy issues, and interviews those in the know on the prospects for congressional and administration action in the narrow window before the 2020 elections.
  • 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. | Capstone Keynote: "Education Policy as States Take the Wheel”
    The Every Student Succeeds Act aims to boost state empowerment in a host of education policy areas. But fiscal and political pressures—as well as a sometimes tricky relationship with the federal government—present their own challenges as states seek to steer a course toward quality school systems. A pair of high-level elected officials offer their view on what they’re doing to tackle these challenges, and what lies ahead.

  • Dennis Barger
    Vail Academy and High School, Tucson, Ariz.


    Previous to his current tenure at Vail Academy, Barger served as a history teacher and assistant principal at two other schools in Arizona. In 2013, he was recognized as a Distinguished Administrator of the Year by the Arizona Business Education Association and State Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in 2016. Barger ran to represent district 14 in the Arizona State House of Representatives in 2016.

    Mark W. Bomster
    Deputy Managing Editor
    Education Week

    Bomster edits Education Week's Government & Politics section, overseeing coverage of federal and state education policy, along with early-childhood education, special education, and school law.

    R. Travis Brenda
    Math Teacher
    Rockcastle County High School, Mt. Vernon, Ky.

    Brenda is a current teacher at Rockcastle County High School. He has been teaching for 19 years and during that time, was the advisor for the Student YMCA for 7 years. He escorted students to Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA) and Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA). He is also in his third year as advisor for the VEX Robotics team. His candidacy for Kentucky’s 71st House District seat is Brenda’s first campaign.

    Daarel Burnette II
    Staff Writer
    Education Week

    Blog: State Edwatch

    Burnette is a staff writer for Education Week, covering education policy at the state level. He is the author of the blog State EdWatch.

    Jeanne Collins
    Superintendent of Schools
    Rutland Northeast S U 36, Brandon, Vt.

    Previous to her current tenure as superintendent in Brandon, Vt., Collins served as superintendent and special services director for over 14 years in Burlington, Vt., schools. She has also served as special services director and a special educator for over six years in Washington West Supervisory Union. Her teaching and administrative experience includes work in Vermont, California, Colorado, and Arizona. Having launched alternative schools in Vermont and Arizona public schools, she also launched Vermont's first two magnet schools with a focus on the arts and sustainability and a goal of socio-economic integration. With a background in the area of emotional disturbance, she teaches as an adjunct profession on crisis prevention and live space counseling focused on changing the behaviors of disruptive students.

    Maria Voles Ferguson
    Executive Director
    Center on Education Policy

    Ferguson is the Executive Director of the Center on Education Policy (CEP) at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., an independent nonprofit organization that studies and reports on the education policy and practice. Ferguson oversees all of the Center’s operations, outreach and research, and acts as chief fundraiser and spokesperson.

    Before coming to the CEP, Ferguson served as the Vice President for Policy at the Alliance for Excellent Education, a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. Before joining the Alliance, she served as Director of the National School Boards Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works in conjunction with the National School Boards Association to strengthen and support school board leadership in local communities. She served for three years as the Director of Field Operations for New American Schools. She was also a political appointee for the Clinton administration at the U.S. Department of Education, serving as the Director of Communication and Outreach Services for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Ferguson began her career as a journalist, working for Cox Newspapers, the Associated Press, and U.S. News & World Report magazine.

    Michael Feuer
    The George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development

    Feuer is Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Professor of Education Policy at the George Washington University, and Immediate Past President of the National Academy of Education. In 2014 President Obama appointed him to the National Board of Education Sciences. Feuer is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Educational Research Association, and co-chair of the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education. He consults regularly to educational institutions and government in the US, Israel, Europe, and the Middle East. He recently released a new book called The Rising Price of Objectivity: Philanthropy, Government, and the Future of Education Research.

    Jahana Hayes
    2016 National Teacher of the Year;
    Talent and Professional-Development Supervisor for Waterbury, Conn., Public Schools

    Hayes was the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and is the Democratic nominee for U.S. House of Representatives in Connecticut's 5th District. She is the talent and professional-development supervisor for Waterbury, Conn., public schools, and a former history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury.

    Wade Henderson
    Civil Rights Activist

    Henderson is past president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition, and The Leadership Conference Education Fund since 1996. Under his stewardship, The Leadership Conference has become one of the nation’s most effective advocates for civil and human rights. Henderson is also the Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Professor of Public Interest Law at the David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia. Prior to his role with The Leadership Conference, Henderson was the Washington bureau director of the NAACP.

    Alyson Klein
    Assistant Editor
    Education Week

    Blog: Politics K-12

    Klein is Education Week's lead federal policy reporter with primary responsibility for the U.S. Department of Education, the White House, and other executive agencies.

    Andrew Ujifusa
    Assistant Editor
    Education Week

    Blog: Politics K-12

    Ujifusa is Education Week’s lead congressional reporter. His coverage also includes the U.S. Department of Education, other federal agencies, and federal education policy.

    John Waldron
    Social Studies Teacher
    Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa, Okla.

    Waldron has been teaching in Oklahoma for almost 20 years, focusing much of his energy on advanced and college preparatory courses. Previously, he worked for Schools Without Walls in Washington, D.C., at a public magnet high school teaching sociology, world history, U.S. history, and international affairs. Waldron has had the opportunity to run for Oklahoma State Senate twice, once earlier in 2016 to represent District 39.

    Madeline Will
    Staff Writer
    Education Week

    Blog: Teacher Beat

    Will is a reporter for Education Week who covers the teaching profession. She rejoined the staff in 2016 as the assistant editor for Education Week Teacher after previously interning at Education Week in 2014. In between, she worked as the publications fellow for the Student Press Law Center and interned at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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