2018 National Summit

December 5 - 7, 2018
Washington, D.C.

Celebrating 11 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 December 5-7 in Washington, D.C., ExcelinEd hosted 1,000 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.

#EIE18 Keynote and General Sessions

Keynote: U.S. Senator Ben Sasse

ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque welcomed attendees to the 2018 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday, December 6, in Washington, D.C. Students from the Eagle Academy Public Charter School led the Pledge of Allegiance before U.S. Senator Ben Sasse gave the opening keynote. Kristen Soltis Anderson, co-founder of Echelon Insights, joined Senator Sasse for a Q&A session following his remarks.

General Session: Dr. Raj Chetty, Opportunity Insights

Dr. Raj Chetty, Director of Opportunity Insights, speaking at the 2018 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday, December 6, in Washington, D.C.

Is the U.S. a land of opportunity? That depends tremendously on where you grow up, according to research by Dr. Raj Chetty. One of the world’s leading economists, Dr. Chetty is addressing important social and economic questions regarding inequality and opportunity. Through his Opportunity Insights initiative, Dr. Chetty uses “big data” to understand how we can give children trapped in disadvantaged communities a better chance to succeed. In this session, Dr. Chetty combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help state leaders identify effective policy solutions for improving opportunity, realizing equality and restoring the American Dream for our nation’s families. View Dr. Raj Chetty’s presentation slides.

Keynote: Dr. Howard Fuller, Marquette University

Dr. Howard Fuller, Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, speaking at the 2018 National Summit on Education Reform on Friday, December 7, in Washington, D.C.

Thirty years ago, most of Milwaukee’s African-American students were trapped in failing schools. But longtime civil rights activist Dr. Howard Fuller had a plan. In 1990, Dr. Fuller helped launch the nation’s first school voucher program to rescue Milwaukee’s poor African-American students in need of good schools, and he hasn’t stopped fighting for quality educational opportunity since. Over the years, public and private school choice has developed and evolved to impact millions of families in Wisconsin and across the nation. Hear Dr. Fuller’s perspective on the past and future of educational freedom in our country, and leave inspired to fight to give every child—regardless of gender, race or geography—the right to rise. View Dr. Howard Fuller’s presentation slides.

General Session: Andreas Schleicher, OECD

Andreas Schleicher, Directorate for Education and Skills for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), speaking at the 2018 National Summit on Education Reform on Friday, December 7, in Washington, D.C.

Educators and schools across the globe are improving their practices to better prepare students to lead and succeed in a fast-changing world. However, some countries are rising far above the pack in this endeavor, while others—like the United States—seem to be at a standstill. For the past 20 years, Andreas Schleicher has worked as part of the intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to identify education policies that improve learning and outcomes for students across the globe. In this fascinating session, Schleicher shares insights on which countries are increasing student success, what are they doing, how they are evolving and how the U.S. can learn from their examples to drive changes that benefit our students and school systems. View Andreas Schleicher’s presentation slides.

Continued Conversation

Andreas Schleicher continued his general session conversation with Jon Schnur backstage. Hear his thoughts on Career and Technical Education and much more.

Award Keynote: Dr. Eva Moskowitz, Success Academy Charter Schools

During a special closing keynote, Joel Klein, ExcelinEd Board Member, presented Dr. Eva Moskowitz with the Excellence in Education Award for her work on behalf of New York City’s most disadvantaged students at the 2018 National Summit on Education Reform on Friday, December 7, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Eva Moskowitz believes each child deserves access to a great school. And this simple conviction led her to become one of the most influential, forwarding-thinking education advocates of our time. In 2006, Moskowitz created Success Academy Charter Schools—the largest and best-performing public charter school network in New York City—to address an education system that was both dysfunctional and inequitable. Known as the “charter czarina,” Moskowitz has taken on the powerful entrenched status quo to guide thousands of disadvantaged students to high academic performance. Her incredible story will inspire attendees to act boldly and urgently on behalf of our nation’s students!

#EIE18 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 1: The Science of Learning: Pre-K and Early Literacy*

What does brain science tell us about how children learn to read? And, what are the implications for early literacy policy? This session addresses the latest science behind learning to read, looking along the entire birth-through-grade-3 continuum. We’ll examine how organizations and state agencies are putting into action key principles to provide a cohesive, seamless approach to early literacy and better ensure grade-level reading by the end of third grade when children transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

Moderator: Ralph Smith, Managing Director, The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading


Strategy Session 2: Fast Tracks to the Economy’s Most In-Demand Jobs: Strengthening State Career and Technical Education Programs

Policymakers in every state can agree that we must ensure students have access to rigorous pathways that prepare them for workforce success in a changing economy. Effective Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs play a vital role in establishing and sustaining these 21st-century pathways. Join a panel of national, state, regional and local leaders to discuss specific steps state policymakers can consider to refresh and revitalize CTE programs and ensure they provide a road to student success. Attendees will learn ways to engage stakeholders, expand student access to high-quality career pathways and ensure programs are closely aligned to regional and state industry demands.

Moderator: Jason Gaulden, Vice President of Partnerships, America Succeeds


Strategy Session 3: Barriers No More: Facilities Access for Charter Schools

One of the most challenging barriers to expanding public charter schools is access to quality facilities. To address this, states have instituted a variety of policies and programs, such as direct funding, access to free facilities and affordable financing. This session will explore how states can best combine these tools to ensure charter school supply meets family demand.

Moderator: Gerard Robinson, Executive Director, Center for Advancing Opportunity


Strategy Session 4: Integrating Social Emotional Learning & Academic Development*

Research confirms that social emotional development is essential to student success at home, school, the workplace and in life. Schools can play a role in fostering and influencing the development of these important skills, behaviors and attitudes. This session features an overview of the compelling research, the impact of these skills on academics, their importance in the corporate sector/workplace and examples of how state and district policies can integrate social emotional learning and academic development.

Moderator: Danielle Gonzales, Managing Director, The Aspen Institute, Education & Society Program


Strategy Session 5: Dollars Driving Results: Funding Lessons from Higher Ed

States are shifting away from funding education inputs and toward funding for outcomes. The shift is more pronounced and developed in higher education. Panelists in this session will highlight lessons learned from performance funding in higher education, explain implications and opportunities for K-12 and discuss how state policymakers can best explore K-12 performance funding in their states.

Moderator: Jon Schnur, Chairman and CEO, America Achieves


Strategy Session 6: Rising to the Challenge of School Turnaround

“The rubber has met the road” for states implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act. After identifying their lowest performing schools, states now must undertake the most difficult – and most important – task of all: school turnaround. In this session, learn how states can catalyze meaningful change for their students in low-performing schools by deploying federal funding, leveraging educational opportunity and promoting high-quality instructional resources and effective vetting practices.

Moderator: Michael Magee, Chief Executive Officer, Chiefs for Change


Strategy Session 7: Addressing Critical Gaps in Teaching Capacity

Schools and districts face mounting demands to provide students a wider range of learning opportunities and deeper, more relevant preparation for college and career. At the same time, many schools struggle to recruit, retain and develop a diverse pool of talented teachers for high-need subject areas. From teacher certification policy to effective professional development, this session examines innovative state-level efforts to overcome barriers and to expand both the teacher pipeline and capacity, with the goal of better preparing all students for future academic attainment and economic success.

Moderator: Evan Stone, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Educators for Excellence


Strategy Session 8: Hacking College Access and Affordability

By 2020, 65 percent of the jobs in the nation will require some type of postsecondary credential. As a result, more and more students (and their parents) are seeking to jump-start earning college credentials in high school. Yet given the high cost of college courses, how can states, districts and schools ensure that students get early access to high-quality, college credit-bearing coursework at a sustainable cost? This session explores how states, districts and organizations are “hacking” college access and affordability to increase student success.

Moderator: Jennifer Zinth, Principal: High School and STEM, Education Commission of the States


Strategy Session 9: Where the Schools Have No Zones: State Open Enrollment Policies*

An important mechanism for education choice is open enrollment, enabling students to attend public schools beyond where they are residentially assigned. This session explores where open enrollment is in place, the differences between policies across states and how (or if) states are tracking open enrollment trends. Panelists will discuss the triumphs and challenges of this policy while offering concrete recommendations on how to design effective open enrollment systems focused on the needs of families.

Moderator: Luke Ragland, President, ReadyCO


Strategy Session 10: Journeys in Innovation: Local Leaders Share Their Stories

What can we learn from schools that successfully innovate and implement change? From a district that prioritizes personalized learning to a school known for its coding and computer science program and an academy that uses labor market data to inform its career offerings, this session showcases forward-thinking school leaders and their stories of innovation. While many states have policies in place to support innovation, these on-the-ground leaders communicated a vision for better serving students, secured support of local communities and executed their plans to make innovation a reality!

Moderator: Andy Smarick, Director, Civil Society, Education and Work, R Street Institute


Strategy Session 11: Policy Primer: 2018 Changes Impacting Private School Choice

Across the nation, policy changes and new initiatives this year are significantly impacting private education choice. State lawmakers, for example, have looked to create new options for bullied students as well as for working-class students, who are losing access to private education. At the federal level, passage of tax reform has led to impacts—some expected, some unexpected—on resources for private education. This timely session provides an overview of major changes in 2018 as well as a look at what’s next for educational opportunity in 2019.

Moderator: Michael McShane, Director of National Research, EdChoice


Strategy Session 12: Innovations in Student Assessment and Reporting*

Policymakers often cite a tension between traditional assessments and the untraditional innovations helping a vast number of students, such as personalized leaning and 21st-century college and career pathways. Is the solution to this tension simply more innovation? This session focuses on the latest advances in student assessment, such as allowing students to “show what they know” with interactive online tasks and taking tests when they’re ready. Also, higher-quality interim assessments can provide teachers with timely insights to help tailor instruction for their students, and advances in reporting empower parents with digital, personalized information on their child’s skills and abilities.

Moderator: Aimee Guidera, Strategic Consultant, Guidera Strategy