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Ed Writers Conference Brings 600+ to Georgetown

The Georgetown University campus was overrun by education reporters, researchers and advocates last week as FutureEd and the McCourt School of Public Policy hosted the Education Writers Association National Seminar.

The annual conference drew more than 600 participants and brought C-SPAN to campus to film several sessions, including panel discussions on free speech at colleges and the education policy landscape in Congress.

FutureEd Director Thomas Toch welcomed the conference goers with remarks about the value of good journalism in today’s world.

“It is the rigor of your work that will sustain the journalistic enterprise in an era where anyone with a URL is an expert, where misinformation has been elevated to an art form,” Toch told the gathering at the opening plenary Wednesday, May 31.

Toch also spoke in a breakout session, featuring his research into how D.C. public schools are transforming the teaching profession. His work appears this month in a deeply reported piece in the Washington Monthly.

FutureEd Research Director Raegen Miller spoke the following day about social and emotional learning, a subject that he and Toch have been researching in California. See full presentation here.

Economist Nora Gordon, a Georgetown professor who sits on our advisory board, told reporters about the complex formulas governing the U.S. Education Department’s spending on low-income students. “If you are confused by what I just described, so is Congress,” said Gordon, whom the moderator described as the “Yoda of Title I.”

Marguerite Roza, a FutureEd fellow who leads Georgetown’s Edunomics Lab, shared news of the motherlode of school finance data that will soon by available, now that federal law requires states to report how much money is spent at each school.

Several other McCourt School professors participated in the three-day conference: William T. Gormley, a professor of public policy, gave a talk about his new book: “The Critical Advantage: Developing Critical Thinking Skills in School.” Tony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, spoke on a higher education panel..

Beyond the McCourt School, Marcia Chatelain, an associate professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown, spoke on a panel about the historic legacy of slavery in higher education. And Brian Wolfman, director of the appellate clinic and an associate professor of law at Georgetown University, spoke about the high stakes for schools at the Supreme Court.