2019 National Summit

November 20 - 21, 2019
San Diego, California

Celebrating 12 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 20-21 in San Diego, CA, 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 2019 below

Keynote & General Session Highlights

#EIE19 Keynote and General Sessions

Keynote: Governor Jeb Bush

#EIE19 kicked off with an energizing discussion between Governor Jeb Bush and Chris Stewart.Their conversation challenged state policymakers to stay the course and continue to implement student-centered policies.

General Session: Dr. Jonathan Haidt

Ideas that challenge conventional thinking are one of Jonathan Haidt’s fortes, serving as a critically important source for innovations in education policy. Based on findings in his recent bestseller, The Coddling of the American Mind, Dr. Haidt offers unique perspectives on classroom discourse, emotional development and how today’s polarized climate is impacting our children. In this address, Dr. Haidt shared insights into how his research translates into action, and how to help today’s students become the critical thinkers and resilient leaders we urgently need. View Dr. Jonathan Haidt’s presentation slides.

General Session: 65th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education Panel

The Supreme Court’s landmark, unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education changed the course of education in America. In this session, a distinguished panel of education leaders reflected on its lasting impact, our nation’s progress over the past six decades and, most especially, the hard work still ahead to advance educational equity for each and every child. Panelists included Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of the Reverend Oliver Brown who in the fall of 1950 along with 12 other parents filed suit on behalf of their children against the local Board of Education.

Keynote: Dr. Todd Rose

Back by popular demand, Dr. Todd Rose is the award-winning author of  Dark Horse and End of Average. With new research to share that expands on his groundbreaking “end of average” thinking, Dr. Rose offered profound insights on transforming education, with strategies for breaking the cookie-cutter mold of success and empowering students and adults alike to lead lives of “passion, purpose and achievement.”

General Session: The Future of Education Panel 

With rapid shifts in the national and global economy, technology and today’s workforce, education systems must adapt to prepare students for success in the 21st century. A distinguished panel of state and national leaders will discuss the future of education in America and the disruptive innovations needed for transforming today’s classroom into tomorrow’s ideal laboratory of learning.

Award Keynote: Sal Khan

During a special closing keynote, Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of ExcelinEd, presented Sal Khan with the Excellence in Education Award.

Khan Academy’s mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere was the singular vision of its founder, Sal Khan, who successfully—over the course of a short decade—turned a simple yet audacious idea into a worldwide phenomenon. “Innovative” doesn’t begin to describe the reach of Sal’s vision and its impact on personalizing and accelerating student learning, empowering teachers and informing practice in classrooms across the country. Khan Academy’s online learning platform now reaches more than 80 million registered users in more than 40 languages around the globe. Learn what big ideas in education are next and how schools everywhere can benefit. View Sal Khan’s presentation slides.

#EIE19 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.

High School Transformation and the Future of Work

To prepare every young person to thrive in an ever-changing world, we need an agenda that’s tied directly to our high schools. When you change high schools, you change the entire system, pre-k through higher ed. In this session, experts from XQ discuss how we can reimagine our high schools—and the state and local policies that guide them—to ensure all students graduate with the full breadth of skills and knowledge they need to be ready to succeed in college, in career, and in life after high school.

Moderator: Governor Bob Wise


The Pension Crisis: What’s Hurting Classrooms Now Will Only Worsen—Unless States Act*

Spending on teacher pensions is crowding out the funding for classrooms and many critical services for students. Learn why states can no longer “kick the can down the road” with pensions funding and how leading states are delivering on their commitment to teachers while prioritizing the classroom.

Moderator: Sandi Jacobs, Principal, Education Counsel


Creating the Best Conditions for High-Quality Private Education Choice*

How do you know when your state is ready to establish high-quality private education choice? Explore how to assess community needs, customize solutions, cultivate political interest in matching solutions to needs—and get private school choice done right. Find out how states have established and grown private school choice programs, with the lessons policymakers and advocates learned along the way.

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


Navigating Social, Emotional and Academic Development*

Research confirms that Social Emotional Learning is critical to life-long student success. Yet efforts to promote and implement it come with many challenges. From successes to pitfalls, this session takes a deep dive on the ins and outs of Social, Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD), explored through diverging perspectives and implications for policymakers.

Moderator: Bethany Little, Principal, Nelson Mullins


Two Codes All Kids Need to Know

To succeed in school and life, students in every state need to learn about computer science and our nation’s Constitution. Computer Science helps students thrive in an increasingly automated world, and the Constitution empowers citizens to understand their government as well as influence it. In this moderated discussion, Hadi Partovi, CEO and founder of Code.org, and Stefanie Sanford, Chief of Global Policy at the College Board, share insights and strategies for developing engaged citizens with the skills needed for success in the technology economy.
Moderator: Andy Rotherham, Co-Founder and Partner, Bellwether Education Partners 


Transforming Professional Learning for Teachers*

It’s no secret that the current professional learning system for teachers is costly, ineffective and unpopular. One promising remedy is personalized and competency-based learning. This approach helps teachers continuously improve their practice and advance their careers by targeting relevant needs, with a means to demonstrate their achievements. Learn how states can seize this game-changing opportunity to support teachers in their professional growth and students in the classroom.
Moderator: Ross Wiener, Vice President, The Aspen Institute 


Accountability, Why Bother?*

Accountability itself does not improve student outcomes, but the data it produces should inspire action that leads to rising student achievement. True accountability comes when parents, policymakers and the public can interpret and act upon the results. Learn why using a “back to basics” approach on school accountability ratings—which prioritize objective, measurable learning outcomes that are fair, accurate and comparable across all schools in the state—is key to unlocking growth. See session presentation.

Moderator: Aimee Guidera, President, Guidera Strategy

Dual Credit Strategies that Really Work*

A full 25% of all high school juniors are capable of college-level coursework, yet few can access this accelerated opportunity. States have the ability to solve the challenges in implementing college acceleration effectively and equitably. What are the proven solutions to these challenges? Learn how dual credit approaches, like early college high schools, ensure a state’s dual credit initiative is creating a better return for the state and its students.
ModeratorMichael Dannenberg, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Policy, Education Reform Now


Parent Power! Changing Laws, Changing Lives

What turns everyday moms and dads from behind-the-scenes classroom helpers into bold education advocates? Learn from five parents who bravely fought for their child’s education… and won! This session explores how to empower parents in your state and how, by sharing their personal stories, these families opened the door to opportunity and changed the lives of countless students.
Moderator: Lane Wright, Education Post  


Credentials Matter: Ensuring Students Earn the Credentials that Matter Most*

Industry credentials can serve as a passport to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand careers. Or they can be a false promise that lead to low-wage jobs and dead-end careers. How can policymakers, educators and employers ensure their credential offerings provide the greatest value for students and economies? Explore new research and policy solutions that focus on investing in the credentials that matter most for students, employers and states.
Moderator: Quentin Suffren, National Policy Director, ExcelinEd   


Strength in Community: Overcoming Challenges in Rural Education*

Rural schools face unique challenges, from the impacts of a national opioid epidemic to deindustrialization and limited infrastructure. Education policies that have proven successful in urban areas do not always translate into rural contexts. This panel highlights how rural communities have used their unique strengths to overcome challenges and what specific steps states can take to help.
Moderator: Michael McShane, Senior Fellow of Education Policy, Show-Me Institute    


An Equitable Education: Serving the Underserved*

Within the same district, huge disparities can exist between schools in the funding they receive and their students’ access to effective teachers. Learn how strategic state policies can ensure disadvantaged students receive the staffing support and funding needed for equal opportunity and an equitable education.
Moderator: Michael Petrilli, President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute    


We the People: Civics Education and the Health of Democracy

There is near universal agreement that America’s students aren’t getting an appropriate civics education in school. Learn what state policymakers can and should do to help prepare students to be effective, engaged citizens. This session explores ways to prioritize civics education and ensure students graduate with an appreciation for free speech and free inquiry on college campuses and beyond.
Moderator: Michael Magee, CEO, Chiefs for Change   


End the Reading Wars, Now!*

Yes, the reading wars are still alive and well – and that means an ongoing gap between the science of reading and what’s taught in classrooms nationwide. The research is abundantly clear—but too often ignored—on what works for children to become successful readers. Learn more about ending the “war” and ensuring teachers have the schooling, training and necessary support to provide reading instruction that meets the needs of all students.
Moderator: Penny Schwinn, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Education    


How Charter Schools Are Developing Great Teachers*

To address gaps in teaching talent, some public charter schools are supporting teacher recruitment and development by creating independent graduate schools of education. Explore how state-level policies can support charter schools in this effort and how independent graduate school leaders are expanding the pool of high-quality educators in their states.
Moderator: Derrell Bradford, Executive Vice President, 50CAN     


Next Gen Learning: Creating the Conditions for Innovation*

Across the nation, innovation and pilot programs are giving schools the flexibility to support student-centered learning options, such as mastery-based, personalized learning. While each state is unique, one commonality is the need to identify state laws and policies that can create obstacles to new instructional or administrative practices. This session explores the diverse landscape of how states are providing flexibility to support innovations across the nation.
Moderator: Stacey Childress, CEO, NewSchools Venture Fund