Experts Tackle America’s Education System: Ideas Festival

June 22, 2009

At the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival, the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic are pleased to welcome education experts to discuss solutions to today’s most pressing issues in the programming track Innovations in Education.  


  • Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education  will appear in an exclusive interview on July 1

  • Michelle Rhee, DC public schools chancellor, discusses recreating the inner-city education system in America in an interview on July 5 with Eli Broad, Founder, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

  • “Motivating Kids for College and Careers” – a July 3 discussion with Hillary Pennington director, US Special Initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Larry Rosenstock, CEO, High Tech High Learning, Peter Edelman, co-director, Joint Degree in Law and Public Policy program and faculty director, Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy, Georgetown University Law Center and Karen Pittman, co-founder and executive director, The Forum for Youth Investment, moderated by Gary Huggins, director, Commission on No Child Left Behind

  • “How to Get Great Teachers into Every Classroom”—a July 3 roundtable discussion with Tim Pawlenty, Governor, Minnesota, Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, John Deasy, deputy director of education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and moderated by Matt Miller, senior fellow, Center for American Progress; host, NPR’s “Left, Right & Center”

  • “Celebrate the Beat: Creating Good Students, Good Citizens”— a July 3 special event featuring Damian Woetzel, director, Vail International Dance Festival; former principal dancer, New York City Ballet and Tracy Straus, director, Celebrate the Beat

Daily highlights from the Ideas Festival will be posted at and the Ideas Special Report at, and event updates will be featured at and

“What’s exciting about the Aspen Ideas Festival is the convening of truly remarkable minds across so many disciplines,” said Kitty Boone, Vice President, Public Programs at the Aspen Institute. “This year in particular we are pleased to have so many bright thinkers who are leading the way forward in American education reform.  We will be presenting speakers not just from the Obama Administration, but from differing political perspectives as well as members of the media, other countries, foundations, and varying education fields such as science and the arts.”

“The Ideas Festival provides a great forum for the latest thinking about our rapidly-changing political, economic, and cultural landscape, and for debate about how to turn that thinking into action,” said James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic. “We’re thrilled to tap the shared strengths of the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic to help shape the week’s conversation.”
Times and dates for programs are subject to change. For a list of other currently confirmed speakers, program tracks, and press pass information, please visit or contact Jennifer Myers at A satellite truck will be on campus; please contact Jennifer Myers prior to arrival to discuss any possible use of the truck. Sponsors for the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival include Altria, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Ernst & Young, Philips, Shell, and Thomson Reuters.

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