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Education Issues to Get Intensive Media Attention on Sept. 9

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The education and media worlds will collide on Sept. 9. On that date, there will be two major media-organized events about education policy. One involves NPR, the other The New York Times, which will apparently use its event to release a new ranking of colleges. Separately the same day, the granddaddy of college rankings—by U.S. News & World Report—will go online with its latest listings.

The New York Times Schools for Tomorrow conference actually gets going on Sept. 8, but the bulk of the sessions are the next day. The focus of the conference is higher education, including the release of an apparently new ranking of colleges by the Times based on their ability to attract underprivileged children. 

Among the speakers are David Leonhardt, the managing editor of The Upshot, the paper's statistics-focused politics and policy site; Janet Napolitano, the former secretary of homeland security under President Obama and now the chancellor of the University of California system; and Ben Nelson, the founder of the Minerva Project, the for-profit higher education institution that aims to provide an elite college experience at a reduced price.

There will be a number of panel discussions, too. The two-day event is at the TimesCenter conference hall at the newspaper's headquarters near Times Square in Manhattan. The event is free, but you have to request an invitation.

Meanwhile, on the evening of Sept. 9, NPR plans a debate over the Common Core State Standards. Participants in the show "Intelligence Squared U.S." will debate the motion "embrace the Common Core." Arguing for the motion will be Carmel Martin and Michael Petrilli. Arguing against will be Carol Burris and Frederick Hess.

Martin is a former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan and currently an executive vice president of the Center for American Progress in Washington. Petrilli is president of the Fordham Institute in Washington. Burris is the principal of South Side High School in New York City. Hess is the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

The debate will be held before an audience at the Kaufman Center on the Upper West Side. Tickets are $40, or $12 for students with appropriate identification.

Audience members will vote on the proposition at the beginning of the evening, and then again after they have heard the fresh arguments. The debate will also be carried live online and will air "soon after" on NPR, the network says.

Finally on Sept. 9, there will be the release of U.S. News's 2015 Best Colleges report. Although "finally" isn't quite right, since the magazine's gravy train will be released online at 12:01 a.m. that day. The print edition of the rankings, now in their 30th year, will be on newsstands Sept. 23.

(Washington Monthly magazine is already out with its latest "different kind of college ranking," as is Princeton Review with its multiple categories of rankings. The Obama administration is working on its college-ratings project.)

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