Write for Kappan magazine

Kappan has a unique role in K-12 education in that it sits at the intersection of practice, policy, and research. Our audience includes K-12 teachers and administrators, researchers, university faculty working in the K-12 arena, and policy makers at all levels of government, from federal officials to state departments of education to local school boards.

Kappan is interested in topics related to teaching, learning, leadership, policy making, and research in K-12 education. We are not an activist publication, but we are active educators who believe that the quality of our work can affect the quality of education throughout the world.

Published since 1916, Kappan follows a traditional school calendar with issues from September through May (including a combined issue for December and January). Libraries offer online access to current and back issues (from 2000 to the present) of Kappan through SAGE Publishing, and content from before 2000 is available through JSTOR.


What we publish

Feature articles. These articles focus on research, policy, and practice in the field of PreK-12 education. Most are published in print and online, although we occasionally publish online-only features. They are typically 2,000 to 3,000 words and should not exceed 3,500 words. In each issue, we publish multiple articles related to a specific theme; however, we welcome submissions on other topics as well.

Backtalk. These are opinion essays published online, with one essay published in print each month. Essays should be roughly 700 words. See the Backtalk archive for examples.

First Person. These are personal first-person narratives about teaching and learning, classroom conflicts, heartwarming encounters, humorous events, and other elements of life in and around school. First-person stories are published online, with one appearing in print each month. They should be roughly 1,000 to 2,000 words. See the First Person archive for examples.

All feature article, Backtalk, and First Person submissions should be sent to manuscripts@pdkintl.org.

FAQs about publishing in Kappan

How do I know what topics are of interest to Kappan editors?

Kappan publishes a call for manuscripts that identifies themes of special interest to editors. If you have a topic that fits into one of those themes, you may improve the chance that your manuscript will be accepted. However, no issue of Kappan will focus exclusively on one topic, so editors like to review a broad range of topics throughout the year.

A new call for manuscripts will typically be posted in January or February each year. Please check for it here or watch Kappan for announcements about when it will be available.


What makes an article acceptable to the editors?

The best way to learn whether your article is a good fit for Kappan is to become a regular reader of the magazine.

We want manuscripts that explore issues of significance to K-12 education. We want manuscripts that present compelling arguments or information on those issues. We want articles that are written so well that readers find it difficult to set them aside. We want articles that compel our readers to action. That action may be as simple as calling the article to someone’s attention or as large as improving classroom practice or becoming politically active to change a law or a regulation.


What are my chances of being published?

Kappan receives 10 to 12 manuscripts every week, so competition for publication is fierce. Kappan accepts about 10-20% of all submitted manuscripts.

Most manuscripts that are rejected are poorly written, poorly organized, lacking in depth, excessively long, or concern an obscure topic that would not be of interest to the general readership of the magazine.

Kappan also will not consider poetry or speeches for publication.

Manuscripts are evaluated individually, but editors also must consider what else has been published on the same topic in recent months and whether other manuscripts on the same topic have already been accepted for publication. Therefore, a rejection is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of a submission. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of timing.


How do I submit a manuscript?

Manuscripts must be submitted by e-mail, preferably as Microsoft Word documents. We will not accept articles sent by mail or submitted as PDF files. Include an abstract (not to exceed 100 words) with your article and a cover letter that identifies the writer and provides complete contact information. E-mail to manuscripts@pdkintl.org.

Do not insert your manuscript into the text of your e-mail.


How long does it take for the editors to make a decision?

We acknowledge all manuscripts within a week of receiving them, and we respond by e-mail to the author submitting the manuscript. A decision about acceptance typically takes about 12 weeks. Authors are notified by e-mail.


Who makes the decision to publish?

The editors. Kappan is not a peer-reviewed publication, though for articles that are particularly technical or specialized in nature, we do sometimes ask experts in the given field to weigh in on its suitability for publication.


What is the ideal length?

Submitted manuscripts should not exceed 3,500 words. Editors will decline to read manuscripts that are excessively long.

Backtalk essays should be roughly 700 words, and First Person narratives should be 1,000 to 2,000 words. Writers should indicate when they are submitting a manuscript specifically for these sections.


What reference style is used?

Kappan uses APA reference style. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of their references.


How much will Kappan editors change my manuscript?

It’s also important for writers to understand that Kappan editors will edit their manuscripts. Acceptance of a manuscript does not mean that it will be published exactly as submitted. Kappan editors may propose minor changes; we may suggest a major rewrite of the article. We may propose cutting your article a little bit or substantially. If a writer is unwilling to engage in the editing process, then the writer should not submit a manuscript for publication in Kappan. Writers will, of course, see an edited version of the article, and they will have an opportunity to discuss changes with an editor.

Although we welcome author suggestions for titles, Kappan editors will make the final decision on the title for each article.


What about diagrams, tables, graphs, photographs?

If you have something that would enhance your article, please indicate that when you submit your manuscript. If your manuscript is selected for publication, we will contact you and provide directions for transmitting that material to us.

All visual materials should be submitted in high-resolution digital format, preferably JPG (300 dpi at a minimum of 2,100 × 3,000 pixels). When taking photos, use the largest or finest format available. Images should be at least a few MB in size.

Please secure signed releases from parents before submitting any images of students. In cases where an author is submitting work (photos or artwork) done by another person, obtain that person’s written permission and include information crediting that person. Releases should be transmitted to Kappan along with the images. Always include caption information with photos.

When submitting charts and graphs, please include raw data points. Kappan will nearly always remake charts, graphs, and other figures. Having raw data makes this much easier. Please double check all data for clarity and accuracy. In cases where an author is submitting charts or graphs from another source or publication, obtain written permission from the source and include information crediting the source. This includes graphics downloaded from a web site.

Please submit charts and graphs as separate files. Indicate where they should be placed in the text. Any figures should also be referenced in the text of the manuscript.


Do you pay for manuscripts?

Very seldom. On occasion, we offer an honorarium when we solicit an article from a well-known authority or from a professional writer.


Who holds copyright on Kappan articles?

Authors retain copyright, though our contributor’s agreement provides Kappan a license to publish your work in print and online, requires that you wait for a minimum of six months before re-posting or distributing the article online, and requires that when you re-use the material you include a citation of the original publication.