Big Ideas 2019

Free Online Event: Big Ideas Summit 2019

Download a PDF of the key takeaways

Join your Education Week newsroom and their special guests as we take a deep dive with you into the issues that have the potential to define—or redefine—education. What do these ideas have in common? They all share a sense of urgency—now we look to you, the Education Week reader to weigh in, get your questions answered, and think deeply on how to address the Big Ideas in K-12 education.

Thank you to those who joined us for this event, which took place on Sept. 19, 2019. Below, you can watch the reporter wrap-up we streamed at the end of the event.


Sept. 19, 2019
1-3 p.m. ET*

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Event Video

Big Ideas in Education: In Conversation With Education Week

  • 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET | #K12BigIdeas Discussions Open
    Education Week journalists and guests provide practical takeaways on student-centered learning

    Room 1: Are the Kids Right? Is School Boring, And Can We Do Something About It?
    Moderator: Michelle R. Davis, Senior Writer & Social Media Strategist, EdWeek Market Brief
    Guests: Kevin Bushweller, Executive Editor, EdWeek Market Brief; Andrew P. Minigan, Director of Strategy, Education Program, Right Question Institute
    ‣ Out-of-school learning is often more meaningful than anything that happens in a classroom. How can educators make school more interesting for students? How can schools surmount the relevance gap?

    Room 2: Special Education Is Broken. Where Do We Go From Here?
    Moderator: Christina A. Samuels, Associate Editor, Education Week
    Guest: Melody Musgrove, Co-Director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning and Assistant Professor of Special Education, University of Mississippi
    ‣ What is the future of special education? Forty years since students with disabilities were legally guaranteed a public school education, many still don’t receive the education they deserve. Policies, practices, and funding are at a crossroads with the education law. The bill is 10 years overdue for reauthorization, what questions should we consider if Congress picks up the law again?

    Room 3: Year-End Testing: Are We Learning Yet?
    Moderator: Stephen Sawchuk, Associate Editor, Education Week
    Guest: Andrew Ho, Charles William Eliot Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
    ‣ A world without annual testing may be closer than you think, but it would come with some serious tradeoffs. Is it really time to kill annual testing? What would be the alternatives and the disadvantages?

    Room 4: The Black Achievement Paradox Nobody's Talking About
    Moderator: Daarel Burnette II, Staff Writer, Education Week
    Guest: Doug Mesecar, Research Fellow for Education, Lexington Institute, Arlington, Va.
    ‣ What can we learn from how military-affiliated K-12 schools educate children whose lives—and learning—are constantly disrupted by moves, new friends, emotional challenges, and more. Emerging research on military-connected students and a new ESSA mandate will be able to shine light on an unusual finding: Black students in these schools outperform their civilian peers.

    Room 5: Does K-12 Have an Innovation Problem?
    Moderator: Alyson Klein, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    Guest: Lee Vinsel, Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, Virginia Tech Public University
    ‣ Are education leaders spending too much time chasing the latest tech trends rather than trying to maintain what they have? Is there a way to bring students into the process of making decisions that are right for the schools and the teachers who educate them. And how can schools and districts be more thoughtful and realistic about what innovation means within limited budgets?

    Room 6: How Do Educators See Innovation?
    Moderators: Holly Kurtz, director, Education Week Research Center; Sterling Lloyd, assistant director, Education Week Research Center
    ‣ Innovative—sometimes disruptive—changes sparked by technology and other forces are on the radar of education analysts. But how do educators currently working in schools and districts think about innovation? How much of a priority is it for them? And what unanswered questions do you have about innovation in education? In this conversation, analysts from the Education Week Research Center will offer insights and takeaways from their national survey. They look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Your feedback and insights will inform future studies.

    Room 7: Exploring AI for Education
    Moderator: Mark Sparvell, Education Leader, Microsoft
    Guests: Alice Bonasio, Writer, international Speaker, Producer and Consultant; Alex Salkever, CMO/Advisor to Tech Companies/Writer; Simon Ibbitt, Business Strategy Leader K12 Education Cloud, Microsoft World Wide EDU
    ‣ AI focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that can perform functions like speech recognition, learning, and problem solving.
    In the education sector, AI is increasingly used to enhance student learning; intelligent interactive programs using various technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, and deep learning help in overall learning of students.
    The analysts forecast the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector to grow 47.77 percent during the period 2018-2022.
    This interactive chat session explores the current uses for AI in education K-H, new possibilities and also examines the ethical and other challenges which may present from the perspective of educators, futurists and technology experts.

    Room 8: The Most Important Thing Students Are NOT Learning: Why teaching learning HOW to learn is critical
    Moderator: Sucheta Kamath, Founder and CEO of ExQ®
    ‣ What’s the one thing that can help every child succeed? It’s the ability to learn HOW to learn, otherwise known as, Executive Function. By directly, explicitly and systematically teaching this process, students build insight that directly influences their strategy selection and adaptive adjustment during the challenges of everyday learning. Sucheta Kamath, Founder and CEO of ExQ® hosts a discussion with educators about the value of teaching Executive Function skills as a crucial foundation for strengthening educational outcomes. Learn about empowering students with self-awareness and life skills to become more creative, empathetic, problem solvers. Join us as we seek to further explore and advocate for teaching Executive Function, the key to infinite know how!

    Room 9: From Dewey to Digital Literacy: Why Are Libraries Leading K-12 Innovation?
    Guest: Shannon McClintock Miller, Innovation Director of Instructional Technology and Library Media, Van Meter Community School
    ‣ How are innovative technologies and teaching strategies introduced in your school or district? Innovations can be tested in libraries before being rolled out into classrooms, making such spaces powerful agents of change and hubs of digital citizenship, creativity, critical-thinking, communication, and other 21st century skills. Yet, 20 percent of library staff positions have been cut at US schools since 2000.
    Join Ozobot and Future Ready Librarians™ Spokesperson and Innovation Director Shannon McClintock Miller for this discussion about how libraries are attracting schools’ most innovative early adopters and why districts should lean into libraries as valuable centers for experimentation.

  • 2:30–3:00 p.m. ET | Final Reporter Wrap-up
    Big Ideas in Education: In Conversation With Education Week
    Led by the Opinion Editor Elizabeth Rich, the Education Week newsroom will close out the day with insights from the discussions they’ve had with you, the readers.

Guests, Speakers, and Moderators

Daarel Burnette II
Staff Writer
Education Week

Burnette II covers school funding and finance for Education Week. He joined EPE in 2015 as a state policy reporter. He previously served as the bureau chief of Chalkbeat Tennessee, a startup news organization based in Memphis. He has worked as an education reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Louisville Courier-Journal. He also worked as a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He received his undergraduate degree in print journalism from Hampton University and an M.A. in politics and journalism from Columbia University.

Kevin Bushweller
Executive Editor
EdWeek Market Brief

Bushweller is an assistant managing editor for Education Week who oversees coverage of educational technology and the K-12 marketplace. He also manages the Digital Directions and EdWeek Market Brief online channels and serves as project editor of Technology Counts, Education Week's annual report about the state of ed tech. Bushweller began working at Education Week in 2000, and has been covering education for newspapers and magazines for more than 25 years. Earlier in his career, he was a senior editor for American School Board Journal and Electronic School magazines.

Michelle R. Davis
Senior Writer & Social Media Strategist
EdWeek Market Brief

Davis is a senior contributing writer for Education Week who covers educational technology, including trends around digital education. Davis began working at Education Week in 2002 as a federal education reporter after covering Congress and the federal government in Knight Ridder's Washington bureau. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and gets to observe education from a personal perspective as she watches her two children progress through public school.

Andrew Ho
Charles William Eliot Professor of Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Ho is the Charles William Eliot Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A former middle and high school creative writing and physics teacher, Ho is a psychometrician whose research aims to improve the design, use, and interpretation of test scores in educational policy and practice. He has studied the misuses of proficiency scores in policy analysis, the improvement of student “growth models,” and the importance of balancing transparency and accuracy in accountability. Ho is a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Alyson Klein
Assistant Editor
Education Week

Klein is a veteran education writer who has covered K-12 schools for more than a dozen years. She covers the latest developments in educational technology, including topics such personalized learning, data privacy, digital curricula, cybersecurity, and teacher professional development. She is also the lead writer for Technology Counts, Education Week’s annual report about the state of educational technology.

Holly Kurtz
Education Week Research Center

Kurtz directs the Education Week Research Center, which produces standalone studies as well as analyses for Education Week and special reports such as Quality Counts. Kurtz began working at Education Week in 2014 after earning a Ph.D. in 2013 from the University of Colorado at Boulder's School of Education and completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado at Denver's School of Public Affairs. Prior to attending graduate school, she spent 11 years covering education and other topics for newspapers in Florida, Alabama, and Colorado.

Sterling C. Lloyd
Assistant Director
Education Week Research Center

Lloyd manages the development of surveys and data analyses for Quality Counts and a wide range of other research publications for the Research Center. Since joining EPE in 2005, he has coordinated research examining a diverse set of education policies and topics.

Doug Mesecar
Research Fellow for Education
Lexington Institute
Arlington, Va.

Mesecar has served in senior operational and policy roles at leading education companies, the U.S. Department of Education, and in Congress. His cross-cutting expertise ranges from curriculum development and education technology, to teaching and public policy, with a strong focus on the use of data in every role. He currently is Senior Vice President of Blended Learning Solutions for EdisonLearning. In addition, he continues to write on important education topics like government markets and performance based funding.

Andrew P. Minigan
Director of Strategy
Education Program
Right Question Institute

Minigan is the Right Question Institute’s (RQI) director of strategy for the Education Program. As a part of Andrew’s work with RQI he is a co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation funded research grant to develop a strategy so researchers can learn how to formulate better, more transformative research questions. Thousands of faculty and students in both K-12 and higher education have participated in his active learning experiences. His work explores question formulation and its connection to curiosity, and he has written on these topics for Education Week, Social Education, Educational Leadership, and PBS.

Melody Musgrove
Co-Director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning and Assistant Professor of Special Education
University of Mississippi

Musgrove is the co-director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning and an assistant professor of special education at the University of Mississippi. She began her education career as a special education teacher in Mississippi and rose through the ranks to become state director of special education for the state. In 2010, she was appointed director of the federal office of special education programs, where she served through December 2015.

Christina A. Samuels
Associate Editor
Education Week

Samuels covers educational equity for Education Week. She explores how schools and districts meet their mandate to serve the needs of all students and establish fairness in opportunity regardless of a student’s racial or ethnic background, disability, or English learner status. She started working at Education Week in 2004, after stints at the Miami Herald and The Washington Post.

Stephen Sawchuk
Associate Editor
Education Week

Sawchuk covers superintendents, district management, school safety, and civics education for Education Week. He joined the newspaper in 2008 and formerly covered the teaching profession, curriculum and instruction. He holds degrees from Georgetown and Columbia universities and was a 2017 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.

Lee Vinsel
Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society
Virginia Tech Public University

Vinsel is an assistant professor of science, technology, and society at Virginia Tech and a co-director of The Maintainers, a global, interdisciplinary network that examines maintenance, repair, infrastructure, and the work that keeps our world going.

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The discussions you see above are just a few of the questions Education Week set out to answer in this second annual "10 Big Ideas" special report. (Read the 2019 report here.)

Education Week’s 10 Big Ideas in Education 2019

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