Submissions Invited: Education Symposium

Submit your article ideas now!

Imagine the most ideal education system where children learned, flourished, and grew up to contribute to the common good of society. What does that system look like? How is it structured?

That’s a difficult enough question--but it gets even harder when you try to build something like it in the context of the real people, institutions, habits, and idiosyncrasies of contemporary American society.

We invite educators and thinking citizens to participate in our next symposium, which seeks to explore the future of education in our modern American context.

We are particularly interested in entries in two general areas:

(1) What should constitute “education?”

We are pretty used to certain things being taught in schools--some are ancient, traditional areas of study; others seem mainly geared to get us into college. Then there might be things that aren’t typically taught, like how to interact well with our neighbors, or how to make wise decisions.

For the purpose of this symposium, we will assume that the purpose of education is, broadly speaking, to train people in the art of their inherited (and accumulated) humanity--which might include things like to teach them to love truth, goodness, and beauty; to ponder and discuss our shared human condition; to pass on the best of our heritage; and to teach the arts necessary for the citizens of a free republic.

Within that context, entries in this area should explore what gets to count as education in 21st century America--what should we ensure all our children are learning in order to be the kind of grownups our society needs? Where should they learn it, and from whom? What should education mean, and look like, in tomorrow’s America?

(2) How can we build it?

Education reformers across America, from both sides of the aisle, agree that the current public education system is failing our students. According to data from the National Center for Educational Statistics, one in three fourth graders cannot read at a basic level, in most of our largest cities graduation rates hover around 50 percent, among high school seniors only 26 percent are proficient in math and 38 percent are proficient in reading, and American students continue to perform in the middle of the pack compared to international competitors.

Despite concurrence on system failure, proposals for a solution from policy professionals and lawmakers are not always the same. And too often those who shape policy are disconnected from those who produce the pedagogy and content that shape students. We must therefore understand and correctly order the structure of the American education system because informs the substance of that education.

Entries in this area will explore questions like: should educational decision making preside first at the smallest levels of accountability (parents, teachers, districts), or at the largest levels of accountability (federal and state government)? What about textbook development? Legislative and political obstacles to reform? Dynamics between public and private and home education? Teacher quality standards and pay? Educational standards and benchmarks?


For examples of the kind of style and substance we are looking for, you can read up on our previous symposia, on the Christian Imagination, Modern Conservatism, and Home.

Soliciting several articles in the 400-800 word range. Soliciting 1-3 articles in the 800-1600 word range. Intended audience: John Jay alumni-level readership.  Author can assume the readership is college-educated and has an active, serious interest in political, cultural, and religious topics, but is not necessarily active in academia. Tone: Thoughtful, informed, and with appropriate citations, but accessible and concise (not an academic journal). Internet-friendly. Content: Light on summarizing others’ content; heavy on the author’s (hopefully fresh) argument. Concepts due September 1. If approved, first drafts will be due September 15, with the symposium to begin running October 15.

To submit an article proposal:

Click here.

Who do you know who should write for this?