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#AskExcelinEd: A Sneak Peek at #EIE18 Strategy Sessions

• James Paul


Welcome to our new #AskExcelinEd series on the National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE18)! Follow along for sneak peeks at the can’t-miss conversations we have planned for #EIE18 taking place in Washington, D.C., on December 5-7.

Today, James Paul, ExcelinEd’s Associate Policy Director for Education Choice, kicks off the series by highlighting strategy sessions on open enrollment and college pathways. Enjoy!

Where Schools Have No Zones

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase education choice?

Some may think of public charter schools, which serve more than 3 million students in more than 7,000 schools. For others, education choice is evocative of tax-credit scholarships and education scholarship accounts—policy tools that empower low- and middle-income families to attend private schools of choice. There is also online learning, homeschooling and magnet schools.

All valid answers—but not an exhaustive list.

From my perspective in education choice policy, one of the most popular, yet least discussed, methods of choice is open enrollment. I’m excited that a panel of experts will share the triumphs and practical challenges of this policy in a dedicated strategy session, Where the Schools Have No Zones: State Open Enrollment Policies.

Open enrollment allows students to attend public schools beyond where they’re residentially assigned. However, it is not implemented similarly across states.

Where the Schools Have No Zones will explore where open enrollment exists and how frequently it’s used by families. We’ll discuss whether states are adequately tracking open enrollment trends and how districts address transportation challenges. And we’ll ask how policymakers and administrators can ensure that parents are informed about their options. With plenty of time for dialogue with attendees, it’s sure to be a valuable discussion!

Hacking College Access and Affordability

At this year’s National Summit, strategy sessions will be as diverse and interesting as education policy itself. When I look over the lineup of sessions, I’m especially intrigued to learn more about the latest developments in college and career pathways, especially how to ensure families can afford to help their children achieve success.

Hacking College Access and Affordability will explore how schools can ensure students have access to high-quality, college-credit bearing coursework at a viable cost. This is a real and pressing problem for families today. By 2020, it is estimated that 65 percent of the jobs in the nation will require some form of postsecondary credential. Yet the price of college continues to rise.

National Summit attendees joining this strategy session discussion will learn what states and districts are doing to build (and rebuild) viable pathways for students to earn college credit and meaningful industry certifications. Strategies include incentives tied to student performance and other tactics that help pave the way to college and career success.

I hope you’ll join ExcelinEd for everything the National Summit has to offer: expert speakers, cutting-edge information, connections with partners and vibrant discussions on all the policies that promise to create student-centered education systems in every state.

About the author

James Paul

James Paul is an Associate Policy Director who focuses on expanding opportunity through private education choice. In this role, James provides analysis and support to state partners regarding the design and implementation of tax-credit scholarship and education savings account programs. Prior to joining ExcelinEd, James was a Policy Analyst at the Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he worked on a variety of state education issues. James graduated from Syracuse University and resides in the Washington, D.C. area.