Special Report
Big Ideas in Education

Big Ideas to Solve New and Persistent Challenges in Education

September 1, 2023
Illustration of fragmented view of issues facing educators in k12 public schools
Traci Debarko for Education Week
Welcome to Big Ideas 2023.

As you start your new school year, we know there’s always a lot to balance among your many to-dos in the rush of the first few days: establishing relationships, making last minute adjustments, creating a supportive learning environment. There’s so much to be excited about.

There are also challenges—some new, some persistent.

For this edition of Big Ideas, our newsroom sought to dig deeper into those challenges, to look for ways to support you as you consider some of the big questions facing the field: Why is teacher pay so stubbornly stalled? What should reading instruction look like? How do we integrate—or even think about—AI? What does it mean for parents to be involved in the decisionmaking around classroom curriculum? And, perhaps the most existential, what does it mean for schools to be “public”?

We hope these reported essays offer fodder for robust discussions.

Keep scrolling for a roundup of our Big Ideas. Please connect with us on social media by using #K12BigIdeas or by emailing bigideas@educationweek.org.

  • What Does It Actually Mean for Schools to Be Public?
    There’s a conflict between how we fund public education and its public purpose.
    Public Schools Rely on Underpaid Female Labor. It’s Not Sustainable
    Women now have more career options. Is that why they are leaving the teaching profession?
    Parents’ Rights Groups Have Mobilized. What Does It Mean for Students?
    Parents' rights groups have led the charge to limit teaching about race, sexuality, and gender. What will happen to students who miss out?
    To Move Past the Reading Wars, We Must Understand Where They Started
    There’s a fundamental research divide about what reading is and how to study it.
    No, AI Won’t Destroy Education. But We Should Be Skeptical
    Artificial intelligence is just the latest example of the importance of teaching students how to learn in an ever-changing world.
    What Teachers Need to Know About AI, But Don’t
    An AI-powered world requires teaching certain skills. The three steps educators need to be prepared.

    More From This Report

    What's on the Minds of Educators, in Charts
    Politics, gender equity, and technology—how teachers and administrators say these issues are affecting the field.

    5 Big Challenges Facing K-12 Education Today—And Ideas for Tackling Them
    Education Week reporters tackle some of the vexing and pressing questions facing the field.