On Sept. 11, 2020, the Program on Education Policy and Governance  hosted "Closing the Education Opportunity Gap: Strategies and Challenges," a conference that brought together leading scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to discuss the most pressing questions on this crucial topic in education reform. For presentation at the conference, we commissioned new research papers that bring together the latest findings with respect to socioeconomic status and school sector gaps in American K-12 education.

Participant directory


9:30 a.m.

Welcome and Introduction

Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University
Robert Enlow, EdChoice

9:45 a.m.

Part 1 — The Opportunity Gap

Chair: Ludger Woessmann, University of Munich

“The Unwavering Achievement Gap: Trends in U.S. Student Performance”
Presenter: Eric Hanushek, Stanford University

“Trends in Charter and District School Performance, 2005-2017”
Presenters: Dany Shakeel, Harvard Kennedy School
Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University

Paper Discussants: Matthew Chingos, Urban Institute
Guido Schwerdt, University of Konstanz

10:45 a.m.

Part 2 — Creating Educational Opportunities

Panel A: Charters
Chair: Boyden Gray, Boyden Gray and Associates, LLP

Panelists: Deborah McGriff, NewSchools
Macke Raymond, Stanford University
Nina Rees, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

11:45 a.m.


12:00 p.m.

Keynote Remarks

James Blew, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy, United States Department of Education

12:45 p.m.

Lunch and Conversation on the Contemporary Crisis in American Education

Moderator: Martin R. West, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Panelists: Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Joseph Olchefske, Superintendent and Education Entrepreneur

1:30 p.m.

Part 2 — Creating Educational Opportunities (continued)

Panel B: Opening the Private Sector to the Disadvantaged
Chair: Robert Enlow, EdChoice

Panelists: Jason Bedrick, EdChoice
Clint Bolick, Arizona Supreme Court
Albert Cheng, University of Arkansas

2 :30 p.m.

Part 3 — Expanding Educational Opportunities

Panel C: Choice in District Schools
Chair: Chester E. Finn, Jr., Thomas B. Fordham Foundation

Panelists: Derrell Bradford, 50CAN
Christopher Cerf, former Commissioner of Education, New Jersey
Raji Chakrabarti, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Caroline Hoxby, Stanford University

3:30 p.m.

Panel D — Technology and Choice
Chair: Michael Horn, Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation

Panelists: Steve Klinsky, Modern States
Michael Petrilli, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Diane Tavenner, Summit Public Schools

4:30 p.m.

Part 4 — Enhancing Opportunities

Panel E: Teacher Quality
Chair: Hanna Skandera, Mile High Strategies

Panelists: Kate Walsh, NCTQ
Michael Podgursky, Saint Louis University Chaifetz School of Business
Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst
Ben Scafidi, Kennesaw State University

5:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks and Informal Video Conversation