| Updated: November 20, 2018
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.

This event will be streamed online. Scroll down for details.


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


Jack Morton Auditorium
805 21st Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20052

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Event registration is now full, but the event will be livestreamed on this page. Sign up for an email reminder below.


Watch live: "2020 Vision: Ed. Politics and Policy Beyond the Midterm Elections" will be streamed live on this page beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 28 . For the exact times of the panels and keynotes, please view the latest agenda below. An archive version of this livestream will be available shortly after the event. Don’t miss it. Sign up for an email reminder below.

  • 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 to 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
    Aimy Steele, Former Principal, Beverly Hills Elementary, Concord, N.C.; and 2018 Candidate for N.C. House District 82
    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.
    Topher Kandik, ELA Teacher, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.
  • 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. | K-12 Priorities Up for Grabs
    Moderated by Mark W. Bomster, Deputy Managing Editor, Education Week
    Education Week’s federal policy reporters discuss the changes, challenges, and unfinished business in store for Congress and the White House in the aftermath of this year’s midterms and in the narrow window before the 2020 elections.
    Alyson Klein, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    Andrew Ujifusa, Assistant Editor, Education Week
  • 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. | Capstone Conversation: U.S Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.)
    Moderated by Andrew Ujifusa, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    Join us for an insightful discussion with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici from Oregon, a high-ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, on the K-12 priorities facing Congress and other federal policymakers as Democrats prepare to take the reins in the House of Representatives.

  • 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.

    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.

    Topher Kandik
    ELA Teacher
    E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
    Washington, D.C.

    Kandik is the 2016 District of Columbia State Teacher of the Year and a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY). He is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches English language arts at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. He received the 2013 Mayor Arts Award for Teaching ELA.

    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.

    Stephen Parker
    Legislative Director
    Education & Workforce Committee
    National Governors Association


    Parker directs policy and advocacy for education and workforce issues, including: early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary education, workforce development and child nutrition. He leads the governors’ Education and Workforce Committee and is the liaison between governors and the federal government on education and workforce issues. Parker led governors’ partnership with Congress to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, which led to governors’ first endorsement of any federal legislation in 20 years. He also led NGA’s work with Congress to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, updating federal job training policy for the first time in 16 years. Prior to working for the nations’ governors, Parker served as Senior Special Assistant to Governor Timothy M. Kaine and Senior Policy Advisor to the Adjutant General of the Virginia National Guard.

    Aimy Steele
    Former Principal
    Beverly Hills Elementary, Concord, N.C.;
    2018 Candidate for N.C.House District 82

    Combining her passion for education and leadership, Steele most recently spent her days as an elementary school principal in Concord, N.C. Although a student from humble beginnings, Steele benefited from incredible opportunities at an early age. She knows first-hand how exposure to enriching educational experiences led to open doors that literally changed her life.

    Her experience in the day-to-day operations of public schools has allowed her to gain a hands-on understanding of the issues and challenges existing in the local school system. She is an advocate for public education including free preschool for all children ages 3 to 4, and education that ensures opportunities for high-skill jobs in an increasingly competitive workforce.

    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.

The 2018 Election Is All About Education

Part 1: Teacher Candidates

More than 100 teacher candidates have made it past the primaries and have helped push public schools to the top of the ballot. Daarel Burnette and Kavitha Cardoza take a look at why so many teachers are running for elected office.

Part 2: School Funding

How—or whether—to pour more money into public school coffers has emerged as one of the most divisive issues for states in this year’s midterm elections. Daarel Burnette and Kavitha Cardoza explore how school funding has played into the campaigns.

Part 3: School Safety

School safety unexpectedly became a huge issue this year when 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. We take a look at why proposals for stricter gun controls and arming teachers have become wedge issues in this year’s election.

Keep up with Education Week's political coverage with instant email alerts from the Politics K-12 blog.