Preview the 2018 SXSW EDU Policy Forum Program

SXSW EDU 2018 Policy Forum speakers, Lecester Johnson, Scott Peters, Rahn Dorsey, Art Acevedo, Sarah Iddrissu, and Rehema Ellis.

The SXSW EDU Policy Forum elevates and highlights policy-focused discussions that impact public and higher education. These sessions feature a diverse range of legislative voices, community leaders and advocates, addressing critical issues impacting education.

Add Policy Forum Sessions to Your Schedule

The 2018 Policy Forum program has begun to take shape and will include a notable lineup of speakers and topics. Preview the program below and sign into the online schedule to add these sessions to your March agenda.

Policy Forum Sessions

Black Education in America – A panel discussion of current issues, data, and trends in Pre-K through college with esteemed educational and civic leaders Chris Stewart (Wayfinder Foundation), Margaret Fortune (Fortune School of Education), Rehema Ellis (NBC News), and Howard Fuller (Marquette University).

Citizen-Ready and Crime-Free: The PreK Advantage – Community leaders, Art Acevedo (Houston Police Department), David Kass (Council for a Strong America), Michael Harper (ReadyNation), and Nancy Brown (Mission: Readiness), will explore how early education addresses problems, from unemployment to crime.

Collaboration as a Path to Digital Equity – Panelists from Charlotte, NC, will discuss community partnerships addressing the “homework gap” for the city’s children and offer concrete action steps to help others forge similar results in their communities. Speakers include Deb Socia (Next Century Cities), Valerie Truesdale (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools), Jennifer Roberts (City of Charlotte), and Pat Millen (E2D – Eliminate the Digital Divide).

The Dual Language ImperativePaul Cruz (Austin ISD), Juan Cabrera (El Paso Independent School District), Liz Willen (The Hechinger Report), and Barbara Jenkins (Orange County Public Schools), will share their strategies for scaling and supporting dual language schools.

Educating Across the Aisle – Exploring tangible programs that have broad support across political ideology and affiliation, Tobie Baker-Wright (Jobs for the Future), Mark Martin (Build Urban Prosperity), and Jeremiah Newell (Mobile Area Education Foundation), will share a focus on putting children, families, and communities first.

Equity Innovations for Low-Skill Adults – 36 million Americans have low skills in reading, math, and problem solving in technology rich environments. Upskilling is needed but the education and workforce training options available to adults are unequal. Innovators Judy Mortude (Center for Law and Social Policy), Lecester Johnson (Academy of Hope), Paul Downs (ALLIES), and Carrie Tupa (Texas Workforce Commission), will share how they are changing that paradigm.

Examining Our Faith in Educational TechnologyHugh Norwood (Trinity Education Group), MaryEllen Elia (New York State Education Department), and Richard Culatta (ISTE) will explore the efficacy and impact of “tech in ed.”

From DC to Memphis: Solving the #StudentDebtCrisis – As a result of the $1.4T student loan crisis, employers across the nation are starting to offer student loan repayment as an employee benefit to improve the financial well being of their workers and a bill co-authored by U.S. Rep. Scott Peters would make this employer contribution tax free. Alex Smith (City of Memphis), Scott Thomspon (, and Representative Scott Peters (US House of Representatives) will discuss.

Trauma-Informed Education Policy & PracticeDr. Gisele C Shorter (Turnaround for Children), Rahn Dorsey (City of Boston, Mayor’s Office), Sarah Groh (America Forward/New Profit), and Sarah Iddrissu (Educators for Excellence) will discuss authentic stakeholder engagement and the role policy makers can play to drive resources towards evidence based, trauma-informed practices.

Stay tuned, additional Policy Forum programming will be announced as March approaches.

SXSW EDU 2018 Policy Forum speakers (L-R, t-b) Lecester Johnson, Scott Peters, Rahn Dorsey, Art Acevedo, Sarah Iddrissu, and Rehema Ellis.



Jessica MacCall

SXSW EDU Sr Digital Media Manager

I over see the SXSW EDU digital experience including website, blog, social media strategy and marketing events. With a Bachelor of Arts - FA concentration in Mass Communications, Electronic Media, and Photography from Texas State University, my goal is to help bring a positive brand experience to the SXSW EDU Community. Outside of the office, you can find my enjoying a glass of wine, spending time with my dogs, and indulging in Sunday brunch.

Stay Tuned

Sign up to receive the latest announcements, tips, networking invitations and more.