Big Ideas 2019

Free Online Event: Big Ideas Summit 2019

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.


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

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*Agenda and times subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

  • 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: Kevin Bushweller, Executive Editor, EdWeek Market Brief
    ‣ 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
    ‣ 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
    ‣ 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
    ‣ 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: Benjamin B. Herold, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ 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?
    Moderator: Education Week Research Center
    ‣ What do teachers, principals, and districts think about “innovation” initiatives in their schools? Where do you come down on the need to impress stakeholders (parents, business, the community) with how innovative your schools are, your teaching is, your aspirations are? In this dialogue, the Education Week Research Center will offer insights and takeaways from their recent national survey.

  • 2:30–3:00 p.m. ET | Final Reporter Wrap-up
    Big Ideas in Education: In Conversation With Education Week
    Led by the Commentary 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 is a staff writer for Education Week, covering education policy at the state level. He is the author of the blog State EdWatch.

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.

Benjamin B. Herold
Staff Writer
Education Week

Herold is a reporter covering educational technology for Education Week. He joined Education Week in 2013. Previously, Herold covered the Philadelphia school district for WHYY public radio station and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. He has won awards as the nation's top education beat reporter and for his feature reporting on the city's mass school closings. He has previously worked as a policy researcher, an independent documentary filmmaker, and a training specialist for rape-crisis and domestic-violence-prevention organizations.

Christina A. Samuels
Associate Editor
Education Week

Samuels is a reporter for Education Week who covers early-childhood education and special education. 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 curriculum and instruction, with a focus on the Common Core State Standards, literacy, social studies, and STEM. A veteran education reporter with 10 years' experience writing about K-12 education, Sawchuk formerly covered the teaching profession for Education Week. He joined the newspaper in 2008 and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan from 2016-17.


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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