2017 National Summit

November 29, 2017 - December 1, 2017
Nashville, Tennessee

Celebrating 10 years as ExcelinEd’s flagship initiative, the National Summit on Education Reform convenes the nation’s leaders in education policy to share what works, what doesn’t and what’s next in education. From November 29 – December 1, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee, ExcelinEd’s chairman, Governor Jeb Bush, hosted nearly 1,100 state and national policymakers, education leaders and advocates. For two comprehensive days attendees shared and learned about new trends, successful policies, evolving laws and the latest innovations that are transforming education for the 21st century.

View the agenda and session videos for 2018 below.

#EIE17 Keynote and General Sessions

Keynote: Governor Jeb Bush

ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque welcomed attendees to the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday, November 30, in Nashville, Tennessee. Students from the Nashville Classical Charter School led the Pledge of Allegiance before ExcelinEd Chair Governor Jeb Bush officially opened #EIE17. Marc Sternberg, K-12 Education Director of the Walton Family Foundation, joined Governor Bush for a Q&A session following his remarks.

Keynote: The Honorable Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education

The Honorable Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform in Nashville, Tennessee on November 30, 2017. Secretary DeVos shared her perspective on how the federal government can support states in ensuring equity while expanding opportunity and innovation. Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam joined Secretary DeVos in a Q&A Session.

General Session: Competing Against Luck with Professor Clayton Christensen

Professor Christensen spoke about his research and theories on disruption and innovation in business to invoke a different way of thinking about how we deliver education. He challenged attendees to measure their lives not by numbers, but instead how they have helped put others on the path to becoming a better version of themselves. Jon Schnur, Executive Chairman of America Achieves joined Professor Christensen for a Q&A Session. View Professor Christensen’s presentation.

Keynote: Equipping Students for Success in a Technology-Driven Economy with Hadi Partovi

Hadi Partovi shared his insights into today’s technology-based economy, the eruption of automation and potential of artificial intelligence, and the impact of these disruptive innovations on the job market. To prepare for this reality and empower students to engage with their world, he explained that education leaders must equip schools to expand opportunities for all students and ready them for a career in a technology-based economy. ExcelinEd Chair Governor Jeb Bush joined Mr. Partovi for a Q&A Session. View Hadi Partovi’s presentation, Artificial Intelligence: The future of our workforce and how K-12 education can prepare for it.

General Session: The Search for Opportunity: Real Faces of Education Choice

For far too many parents across the nation, struggle with the reality of sending their children, day after day, to schools that cannot or will not meet their needs. During this session, Mr. Stewart moderated a panel featuring the personal stories from Kelley Williams-Bolar, Ohio parent of two; Briana Gilchrist, New Jersey Charter School Alumnus; Whitney Smith, Tennessee parent of three; Cristina Maxwell, Florida parents of a Gardiner Scholarship Student; Walter Blanks, Ohio EdChoice Scholarship Alumnus; Theresa Canady, Indiana parent of charter school students; and Charlonda Brown, North Carolina parent of an Opportunity Scholarship student. This panel discussed the very real side of reform, and the lives impacted.

Keynote: Getting Students the Education They Deserve with Dr. Steve Perry and Closing Remarks from Gov. Jeb Bush

Dr. Perry believes that the success of a life is determined by where you end, not where you start. It is this philosophy that inspired him to transform the lives of poor and minority children. As a strong advocate of personal and civic responsibility, he inspired an audience of state legislators, policymakers and education reform advocates to transform outdated education systems in their states and provide all students with access to a quality education through opportunity and innovation.

#EIE17 Strategy Session Videos

Session titles below link to a full video of the strategy session and panelist names link to presentations, if available. Sessions with an asterisk (*) do not have a video recording.

STRATEGY SESSION I – Diversity & Pluralism: The Future of American Education?

For more than a century, public education in America meant one thing: a government-run, geographically-assigned school. But this definition is evolving with a steady increase in the number of public and private options available to families at public expense. Is this trend likely to continue? If so, what are the benefits to parents? What challenges must be addressed when moving from a system of uniform district schools to a decentralized system of parent-driven diversity? An esteemed panel of experts will discuss these issues and many others that face the future of educational options in America.

Moderator: Martin West, Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education


Strategy Session II – Policy, Pilots & the Path to Personalized Learning

Personalized learning offers an exciting possibility for every state, school and classroom: maximizing each student’s potential for learning and preparing all students for success. In some states, personalized learning innovation and pilot programs are already in place—leading the way for the broader systemic changes necessary to fully scale and sustain implementation statewide. In this session, hear from educators and education leaders about the building momentum for personalized learning across the country and explore ExcelinEd’s latest findings on this topic.

Moderator: Jim Shelton, President of Education, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative


Strategy Session III – Advancing Equity with ESSA: The Good, The Bad & The Wonky

Will the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) be a game changer in advancing achievement for all students? Two years after ESSA was enacted, all eyes are on the plans states developed and submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in April and September of 2017. Join this session to learn about the changing national landscape on school accountability. Our expert panel will discuss state policies that are advancing equity and student achievement, the greatest opportunities and obstacles states face as they move to implement their ESSA plans, the biggest surprises about the process, and predictions about the future of ESSA’s impact on student learning.

Moderator: John FischerSenior Program Officer in the U.S. Policy, Advocacy and Communications Office, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 


Strategy Session IV – Lifeline vs. Obstacle: A Look at Choice & Special Education

Educational choice has long been a way to match students with environments that fit their unique learning needs. Yet, the role of choice and opportunity in special education is a topic of growing debate. For many parents, choice programs have been a lifeline—creating an opportunity for families to find options outside of a system that often prioritizes compliance over meeting student needs. Even so, some have perceived these programs as a threat to hard-fought efforts to provide students with disabilities access to an appropriate public education. This session will tackle these concerns and provide an in-depth look at how choice programs are working for students with special needs.

Moderator: Tim Keller, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice 


Strategy Session V – What’s New in Education Funding? Tools for Policymakers

How does your state fund student learning? Do you know how much money each school spends per student, or why some schools see better results for the same funding? Are schools in control of their funds? If a student moves midyear, does funding follow the student to the new school? Some states—like Colorado, Georgia and Texas—are creating online tools to answers these critical questions, making school funding comparisons easy and providing actionable information for schools and parents. Join this expert panel to learn the steps policymakers can take to prioritize financial transparency and make education funding more effective in their states.

Moderator: Lisa SnellDirector of Education and Child Welfare, Reason Foundation


Strategy Session VI – Supercharging Student Success Through Career Pathways

Too many students graduate from high school without the skills necessary to successfully pursue a career. Meanwhile, many state offerings in education are not aligned to the skills students and employers need. This skills gap has a significant effect on everyone from families and employers to our states and economy. In this session, learn how states can successfully navigate career pathways for students to ensure students are acquiring skills that are in demand and relevant in the global economy. Panelists will discuss the latest data behind the power of industry credentials, how to align state education offerings to workforce demand and how businesses are addressing the skills gap.

Moderator: Kate Blosveren KreamerDeputy Executive Director, Advance CTE 


Strategy Session VII – Social & Emotional & Academic Development: The Science & Art of Integration

Recent research and promising practices have begun to reveal the science behind social emotional learning and its impact on students’ academic success. What are the essential skills and mindsets that empower students to succeed? How can schools and communities integrate these skills with their academic curricula so students can manage themselves, think critically, collaborate with others and resolve conflicts? In this session, we will explore policies that can help ensure all schools—especially those serving students who have experienced adversity—have the evidenced-based strategies to ensure students are ready to succeed and become lifelong learners. Join us to learn about the science behind social-emotional learning and successfully-implemented practices.

Moderator: Brooke Stafford-Brizard, Ph.D., Director, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative @StaffordBrizard


Strategy Session VIII – Turning the Tide: Tools to Promote Charter School Growth

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, only 329 new charter schools opened across the United States in 2016, down from 640 new charters in 2013. Charter schools are still growing, but at a much slower rate than just a few years ago. Why are we seeing fewer new charter schools? What can policymakers do to ensure that new high-quality charter schools are able to open and serve families? Join this session for a conversation with researchers and state lawmakers to learn what is behind this trend and how states can address the need for more quality schools in our communities.

Moderator: Neerav Kingsland, Chief Executive Officer, Hastings Fund


Strategy Session IX – Computer Coding: What Are You Waiting For?

Students who learn to code will play an integral part in growing our nation’s next-generation economy. And more and more states, districts and schools are recognizing that computer science education is critical to preparing students for college and career. This session offers attendees a look at real-world solutions for both preparing teachers to teach computer science and providing opportunities for all students to learn computer coding. Through national programs and state-specific initiatives, this panel session reveals that bringing Silicon Valley to the classroom is no longer a question of “How?” or “When?”, but rather, “What are you waiting for?”

Moderator: Garrett JohnsonCo-founder, Lincoln Network


Strategy Session X – The Teacher Shortage: Myths, Realities & Solutions

In recent years, there has been a spike in reports of teacher shortages nationwide. However, a deep dive into the data reveals that teacher supplies vary greatly across states, communities and subject areas. The most acute shortages involve hard-to-staff subjects—such as STEM and special education—and are concentrated in schools serving low-income, rural and minority students. In this session, our expert panel will examine the extent of the shortage across states and offer state-level solutions to building a diverse, high-quality teaching force to meet students’ needs.

Moderator: Daniel Weisberg, Chief Executive Officer, TNTP 


Strategy Session XI – Myth vs. Fact: The Truth About Private School Choice

The impact of private school choice on the different components of an excellent education—including academic achievement, diversity, fiscal effectiveness, parent satisfaction, civic values and social capital—has been broadly researched. However, there’s no single narrative on what the research says about the advantages and challenges of private school choice. In this panel, hear a spin-free explanation of the findings from expert researchers and learn how these findings can help inform your work to expand high-quality education options for all students.

Moderator: Michael Petrilli, President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute 


Strategy Session XII – Doubling Down on Early Literacy: Ensure Every Child Can Read

Ensuring that each student can read by the end of the third grade is key to a child’s—and a state’s—success. And failure to meet this goal will result in serious, yet preventable, education and economic problems for both. The good news is that states across the country are establishing comprehensive and proven K-3 literacy policies to identify struggling readers early and put at-risk students on the path to a brighter future. In this session, learn about the newest findings in early literacy and how state chiefs are doubling down to improve reading outcomes for all students.

Moderator: Cari MillerPolicy Director of K-3 Reading, ExcelinEd


Strategy Session XIII – What’s in a Name? Tap the Power of Messages That Work

Competency-based education vs. personalized learning. School choice vs. educational opportunity. Word choice is crucial—not only to communicate effectively, but also because each term has its own set of connotations, both positive and negative. Recent research is identifying the messages and wording that resonate most with today’s audiences of student-centered reform. But more than choosing the right words, it’s also important to match them to the right audience and have credible storytellers to make the message go even further. Join this session to learn how to tap the power of messages that work to advance education reform in your state.

Moderator: Jessie ConnellyManaging Director, Echelon Insights