MEDIA ADVISORY: Shaping the Future of Public Education

lead image

Media are invited to attend the National Charter School Conference, June 21 - 23, 2021

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools will hold the virtual 2021 National Charter Schools Conference (#NCSC21) from Monday, June 21 to Wednesday, June 23. Speakers include U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, author Irshad Manji, philanthropist Dr. Priscilla Chan, and more. Media passes are available for all featured and breakout sessions by contacting Jennifer Diaz at

The conference brings together thousands of educators, school leaders, state-level leaders, charter support organizations, charter management organizations, and advocates to collaborate on and inspire America's public charter school movement.

This year’s theme is Education (R)Evolution: Engage. Educate. Innovate. The conference provides opportunities to engage with presenters and workshops, educate your audience on the educational equity and equality promise of charter schools, and learn about innovations happening in K-12 education.

“Now is the time to apply lessons learned from the pandemic’s upheaval and uncertainty. Going into a new school year, our students and families are counting on us to help them recover and grow. This year’s conference is primed to inform and inspire all attendees to do just that,” said Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “The National Alliance is honored to host Secretary Miguel Cardona to speak directly to public charter school leaders and teachers about his vision for the future of education. I am looking forward to learning from innovators Dr. Priscilla Chan and interim CEO for Citizens of the World Charter Schools Vanessa Rodriguez and authors and equity experts Irshad Manji and Tre Johnson. I encourage everyone not to miss the featured sessions on the Role of Black Institutions in the Charter School Movement and Don't Waste This Crisis: Not Going Back to Normal.”

NCSC21 will feature more than 60 breakout, keynote, and featured sessions. 


Celebrating Educator Excellence: Featuring Dr. Miguel Cardona, 12th United States Secretary of Education

The National Alliance is proud to continue the tradition of hosting every U.S. Secretary of Education since 2006 and we are humbled to have Secretary Cardona join us for NCSC21. Teachers are the lifeblood of education. Especially during the time of the pandemic, teachers consistently went above and beyond, doing whatever was necessary to ensure their students were learning and felt loved and connected. Secretary Cardona will share his vision for PreK-12 education and offer insights into how charter schools can help fulfill that vision. The Secretary has pledged his commitment to supporting diverse teachers and cultivating a new generation of diverse school leaders who mirror the rich mosaic of students in American schools.

Supported, Seen, and Safe: What Students and Teachers Need in the Wake of COVID-19

If the overlapping traumas of the past year have shown us anything, it’s that student well-being is just as important as academic learning. The resilience displayed by students and educators this year was remarkable in the face of the great challenges to students’ mental well-being and learning. Building on that resilience and ensuring that students feel seen, known, supported, and safe are key to charting a successful year ahead. In this session, Dr. Priscilla Chan, co-founder and co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) will join Vanessa Rodriguez, interim CEO for Citizens of the World Charter Schools, to discuss how schools can apply findings from the science of relationships to meet the needs of both educators and students alike, better support student well-being and accelerate learning.

Speakers: Dr. Priscilla Chan, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Vanessa Rodriguez, Citizens of the World Charter Schools

The Role of Black Institutions in the Charter School Movement

With local affiliates of organizations such as the National Urban League, 100 Black Men of America, and African American fraternities and sororities creating and operating several charter schools throughout the nation, what is and should be the role of Black institutions within the charter movement? Join us to discuss the role of civil rights, fraternal, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), social and affinity groups in creating the next generation of public charter schools, joining school boards, and bringing real equity to the sector.

Speakers: Roland Martin, host and managing editor, #RolandMartinUnfiltered; Esther L. Bush, President & CEO, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh; Dr. Cecil Payton, Chairman of the Board, Empowerment Academy; Timothy Woods, 24th Western Province Polemarch, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Moral Courage: The No-Shaming Approach to Antiracism and Inclusion

Fear sows division. Research shows that what humans fear more than anything is being judged. That’s why shaming and feeling shamed are misguided remedies for racism. The truly inclusive alternative is “Moral Courage” — a method of engaging that heals existing divides while preventing new ones. In this fascinating fireside chat, the New York Times bestselling author and leadership scholar Irshad Manji will address the questions that so many educators are quietly asking: What's the role of empathy in the struggle for equity? How do we confidently communicate with students about highly emotional issues? For that matter, how do we do this with fellow faculty and parents?

Speakers: Irshad Manji, Moral Courage ED; Tre Johnson, DEI Partner, Catalyst:Ed

Don't Waste This Crisis: Not Going Back to Normal

This is not the time to go back to business as usual. The pandemic has propelled innovative uses of technology in teaching and learning – allowing students to learn at different paces, support each other, and grow together. Educators have moved from partnering with families to co-authoring with families students’ educational and emotional journeys. School leaders must do everything possible to balance smart oversight and ensure student outcomes and experiences are prioritized, while not inhibiting creative approaches for better student learning opportunities. Join us to discuss how lessons learned during the pandemic will change the future of education.

Speakers: Freddy Gonzalez, KIPP Foundation; Lagra Newman, Purpose Preparatory Academy; Karega Rausch, National Association of Charter Authorizers

Girl Rising: Stories of Resilience, Courage & Change

A screening of the Girl Rising film, the centerpiece of a global non-profit organization that uses storytelling to raise awareness and ignite action so that girls everywhere are valued and educated. The Girl Rising film includes powerful stories about courageous girls around the world who confront barriers to their independence – including poverty, child marriage, violence, slavery, and tradition – and inspire students to think deeply about social justice, gender equity, global citizenship and to believe in their capacity to raise their voices and create change.

Explore the session content at the NCSC website.

If you are interested in securing a media pass to attend the conference, please contact Jennifer Diaz at for your registration code.