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Kappan call for manuscripts, 2017-18

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 anybody 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 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 as well.

Please review Kappan’s Writer’s Guidelines (www.kappanonline.org/writers-guidelines) before submitting a manuscript, and keep in mind that the editors will not consider submissions that do not meet the guidelines. All submissions should be sent to manuscripts@pdkintl.org. This will ensure that each submission is acknowledged and included in our review process.

Please pay attention
Deadline for submissions: July 1, 2017

In this issue of Kappan, we turn our attention to attention itself, exploring the challenges facing K-12 education in the age of digital distraction. Questions to consider for this issue include: What does recent research tell us about technology’s effect on attention and learning? What are schools doing to engage young people in deep reading, careful analysis, and sustained inquiry? Are there effective and equitable ways to help students who struggle with attention in the classroom? Are today’s teachers as distracted as their students? If so, what are the implications for educational policy and practice?

The blurry boundary between high school and college
Deadline for submissions: August 1, 2017

In the rush to prepare for college and careers, growing numbers of students are getting started on higher education while still enrolled in high school. But that begs a host of questions about where high school should end and college should begin. Questions to consider for this issue include: Should teenagers leave for college as soon as they can, or are there good reasons why they should stay in school through the 12th grade? Is high school just a stepping-stone to college, or does it play a distinctive role in helping young people prepare for life, work, and citizenship? What are some promising examples of schools that have redesigned themselves to account for new expectations about what students should learn and when they should learn it?

Civility, controversy, & persuasion
Deadline for submissions: September 1, 2017

In a hyper-partisan age, what are the nation’s schools doing to promote the kind of civil discourse that democracy requires? Questions to consider for this issue include: How can we teach young people to evaluate arguments and make effective arguments of their own? How should teachers handle controversial topics in the classroom, and what risks do they face when they choose to teach such topics? Where should schools draw the line between indoctrinating children and empowering them to think for themselves about complex issues? What are some successful models for teaching students to argue in writing, in person, and through digital media?

Community schools
Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2017

Across the country, there have always been public schools that provide a broad range of services to their communities, addressing everything from health, nutrition, and child care to job training, adult literacy, economic development, and arts programming. In this issue of Kappan, we take stock of current approaches to community schooling, and we consider prospects for the future. Questions to consider for this issue include: How many and what kinds of community schools exist, who do they serve, who do they employ, and how are they funded? How do they weave together social services with the more typical roles that schools play? Where are community schools thriving, and what challenges do they face?

The online lives of children
Deadline for submissions: November 1, 2017

Today, the typical American child leads a double life, constantly toggling back and forth between the face-to-face world and the worlds they create and explore online. In this issue, we ask how students’ life in school relates to the lives they lead on the web. Questions to consider for this issue include: How do they use digital media to discover new interests, learn new skills, and define new identities? What does recent research tell us about young people’s literacy development online, their sense of agency and engagement, the nature of their relationships, and so on? To what extent do their experiences in cyberspace complement or contradict what they are learning in the classroom, under teachers’ guidance?

All of the adults who matter: Beyond teachers and principals
Deadline for submissions: December 1, 2017

Effective schools depend on many more adults that just the teachers and principals in the building. Budget cuts over the past decade, however, have meant substantial reductions in many staff lines. Questions to consider for this issue include: What does research tell us about the contributions that nurses, media specialists, guidance counselors, social workers, librarians, coaches, and other adults make to student learning and development? What can be learned from schools and districts that have been able to retain and/or increase the number of support staff they employ, even in a tough fiscal climate?

Power and influence in schools and statehouses
Deadline for submissions: January 1, 2018

After a dozen years of strong federal involvement in K-12 education, the Every Student Succeeds Act has shifted much decision-making authority back to the local level. But that begs the question: Who, exactly, has the power to shape educational decisions in states, districts, and schools? Questions to consider in this issue include: When it comes to school policymaking, whose voices get heard, and who gets ignored? To what extent do lobbyists shape state policies? How do vendors and contractors persuade school leaders to buy their products and services? How often do pushy parents get what they want? How powerful are the teacher unions, really? And how does outside funding influence local and state school board elections?

Submit manuscripts to manuscripts@pdkintl.org

Download themes (PDF)