The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Conference on Education kicks off today at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.

Intended to address the needs of the nation’s senior education executives–from district superintendents to associate directors and technology coordinators–the annual three-day event calls on educators everywhere to “Stand up for Public Education.”

As widespread policy changes brought on by the federal No Child Left Behind Act continue to usher in sweeping reforms in the nation’s schools, and educators work to better prepare students for the challenges of an emerging global economy, executives at AASA contend a fundamental shift is occurring in the nation’s public schools. No longer is it enough to simply provide students access to a quality education, they say, these days circumstances demand that schools go the extra mile: providing measurable proof of academic gains.

To help foster this change, AASA’s Stand Up initiative advocates a systemic focus, both locally and nationally, on three fundamental principles of public schooling: Getting children ready for school; getting schools ready for children; and getting children ready for democracy.

Throughout the weekend, educators from school systems large and small are expected to spend time meeting with peers; hearing from leading thinkers and practitioners in education; and examining best practices in leadership, curriculum, technology, governance, and school law.

AASA says this year’s event will provide a forum for school leaders to discuss the essence of leadership and to cultivate the types of lasting professional relationships that will enable their districts to stay “at the forefront of school improvement.”

To help put districts on a path to achieving their long-term goals and preparing students for success in the 21st century, AASA has assembled a broad list of distinguished, thought-provoking, if not somewhat controversial speakers, including best-selling author and education expert Jonathan Kozol, social anthropologist Jennifer James, independent researcher and writer Gerald Bracey, and Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, to name a few.

The conference also will feature a large and diverse exhibit hall, giving attendees in for the entire weekend, or just for the day, a chance to experience firsthand the latest in school technology and educational innovation.

With more than 320 registered exhibitors–from big-name technology providers such as Dell Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Apple Inc., to specialized curriculum designers and hardware manufacturers–this year’s show aims to give top-level school executives a glimpse inside the classroom, to see how the effective integration of technology is helping to transform education, one student at a time.

The conference and exposition opens tonight, Feb. 24, with a talk on leadership led by Coca-Cola President and Chief Operating Officer Donald Knauss and will wrap up Sunday, Feb. 26, with a closing address from Wally Amos, the entrepreneur and actor whose guiding philosophy, “The Cookie Never Crumbles,” led to the creation of the Famous Amos brand of cookies.

Be sure to visit the eSchool News Conference Information Center daily, for live, ongoing coverage of this important annual event.


American Association of School Administrators