Phi Delta Kappan is committed to publishing lively articles and commentary on a wide range of themes related to K-12 education. Because school practitioners make up the largest portion of our readership, we are most interested in exploring topics that will enrich educators’ professional lives and inform their day-to-day work. We seek articles that are written in a conversational voice and draw lessons from both research and practice. We welcome submissions from researchers and policy advocates as well as from teachers, principals, district and state leaders, students, parents, school board members, and anyone else who wishes to share vital stories and insights about K-12 education.
The themes and questions listed below are meant to be provocative, helping writers to generate interesting ideas for articles on critical topics in education policy and practice. Keep in mind, though, that while each issue of Kappan highlights a specific theme, we reserve a portion of the magazine for articles and commentaries on additional topics.
Results and analysis of the 2018 PDK Poll
Deadline for submissions (non-thematic articles only): June 1, 2018
Sex, gender, and schooling
Deadline for submissions: July 1, 2018
Is mainstream America becoming more accepting of nontraditional gender norms and identities, and, if so, how is this playing out in the schools? How has the #MeToo movement influenced K-12 education, and what are schools doing to prevent the sexual harassment of their teachers, staff, and students? In this issue, we focus on topics related to sex and gender on campus and in the classroom. Questions to consider include: How are schools teaching themes such as gender fluidity, feminism, and masculinity? What are the best and most innovative practices in sex education, and how do community expectations shape that curriculum? To what extent does teaching remain a feminized profession, and to what extent does school administration remain dominated by men? What are the pros and cons of single-sex schools? How has Title IX influenced public education?
What’s the “public” in public education?
Deadline for submissions: August 1, 2018
When people talk about public education and the public good, what do they mean by “public,” exactly? This issue will focus on the nature and mission of the public schools, with attention to current debates about choice, vouchers, privatization, and the kinds of students, families, and institutions that should or should not receive funding from governmental sources. To be deemed “public,” must a school be free and open to all? Can it have a religious affiliation? Must it be accountable to an elected school board or other elected officials? Does it have a duty to promote civic understanding and participation? And what responsibility does the larger citizenry (including, for example, taxpayers without children) have to support the public schools?
DECEMBER 2018/JANUARY 2019
What we’ve learned about learning
Deadline for submissions: September 1, 2018
Recent years have seen an explosion of new research into the human brain, cognition, memory, information processing, and learning. In this issue, we highlight some of the most important findings, especially those that have significant implications for K-12 education. For example, what are the most exciting new developments in brain science, and what are the limits of that research? What’s known about how nutrition, health, stress, executive function, and other factors affect students’ abilities to learn? How is the research translating into effective new teaching practices, tools, and resources? To what extent do recent findings contradict previous assumptions about effective instruction, and to what extent do they confirm what educators have always known?
Schooling in segregated America
Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2018
Nearly 65 years after Brown v. Board of Education, our public schools remain intensely segregated along a number of dimensions: race, wealth, religion, home language, political affiliation, and more. This issue takes stock of just how separate and unequal our schools are today, and it highlights contemporary debates about the reasons for, effects of, and best ways to respond to segregation. For example, how have charter schools and other choice-based movements changed student enrollment patterns? What have been the long-term effects of court-ordered desegregation? How successful are efforts to promote voluntary integration? And to what extent does it matter whether young people learn in the company of diverse peers and teachers?
Rethinking the curriculum
Deadline for submissions: December 1, 2018
In this issue, we take a close look at the K-12 curriculum, asking which subjects, content, and skills are most essential for students to learn, when, and at what depth? From the 1894 report of the Committee of Ten to 2010’s Common Core State Standards, what have been the major influences on curriculum design? Today, do the nation’s young people pursue a coherent course of study, or is the curriculum something of a mishmash? Topics to consider include: academic goals for the early grades, the mission of the middle grades, the subject-area requirements of the high school years, and the pros and cons of curriculum integration. Do all students need algebra and higher-level math, and is studying these subjects more important than learning basic statistics, financial skills, and other kinds of numeracy? Where do civics, writing instruction, and the arts fit into the curriculum, and if we wanted to give them more time and attention, what would we cut to make room for them?
American childhoods today
Deadline for submissions: January 1, 2019
Every several years, the popular media adopt a new label to describe the latest cohort of young people: Generation X, Millennials, the iGeneration, and so on. But are today’s children truly different from the children of 10, 20, or 50 years ago, and if so, then how, precisely? In this issue, we consider what it means to grow up in the current era. For example, how common is helicopter parenting, and what effects is it having on kids’ development? How anxious are today’s teens about their economic future? What values do they see as old-fashioned or outdated? What role does technology play in shaping young people’s experiences? And to what extent do the answers to such questions have to do with factors such as race, ethnicity, social class, and location?
Who gets what? Educational resources and equity
Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2019
How do the nation’s schools allocate their limited resources? Who should get which piece of the pie, and how does the pie actually get divvied up? This issue explores the ways in which various interest groups (parents from high- and low-income communities, teachers unions, textbook companies, for-profit schools, community leaders, board members, and more) compete to get their fair share — or more than their fair share — of educational funding, services, and other goods. Topics include: need-based funding formulas, equity lawsuits, students’ access to the most effective teachers, local budget battles, fraudulent and wasteful spending, and the persistence of “savage inequalities” among schools and districts.
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