Kappan Submissions

Writer’s Guidelines for Kappan Magazine

Kappan addresses issues related to K-12 education. Kappan has a unique role in education because it sits at the intersection of practice, policy, and research. Our audience is both broad and deep and includes K-12 educators, university faculty working in the K-12 arena, and policy makers at all levels of government with an interest in education.

Kappan is interested in topics that most interest educators working in K-12 schools throughout the world. Because policy decisions influence practice, we are very interested in the implications and implementation of policy changes. We want to encourage conversations that inspire changes in practice that lead to improved student learning. 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 1915, 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 ofKappan through EBSCO databases, ERIC, Gale Online, and WilsonWeb. Back issue content available through JSTOR and Questia Media.

Download Writer’s Guidelines (PDF)

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 on this page 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% 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 between eight and 12 weeks. Authors are notified by e-mail.

Who makes the decision to publish?

The editors. Kappan is not a peer-reviewed publication.

What is the ideal length?

Submitted manuscripts should not exceed 3,000 words. Editors will decline to read manuscripts that are excessively long.

Kappan also publishes 700-word BackTalk essays. Writers should indicate when they are submitting a manuscript specifically for BackTalk.

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 2100 × 3000 pixels). When taking photos, use the largest or finest format available. Images should be at least a few MB in size.

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 doublecheck 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. Usually we pay an honorarium only when we solicit an article from a well-known authority or from a professional writer.

Who holds copyright on Kappan articles?

Phi Delta Kappa International generally does. Each issue is fully copyrighted by Phi Delta Kappa. Authors will be asked to grant permission for publication upon acceptance of the manuscript. This will allow PDK to publish the article in the magazine, post the published article on the PDK web site, and also to provide it to institutional subscribers.

Please e-mail manuscripts to: manuscripts@pdkintl.org.

Graphics Guidelines: General Information

Kappan addresses issues related to K-12 education. Because policy decisions influence practice, we are very interested in the implications and implementation of policy changes. We understand that higher education faculty who are preparing the next generation of teachers and school leaders have a great deal to contribute to the discussion of K-12 education. We want to encourage conversations that inspire changes in practice that lead to improved student learning. We are not an activist publication, but we are active educators who believe that the quality of our work can have an impact on schools throughout the world. Visual elements in the magazine, including cartoons, should relate to this content.

Kappan prefers to choose from (and are more likely to buy) work that features diverse people in a variety of roles. Remember — not all principals are men, not all elementary teachers are women, not all people are white. Adults in schools sometimes interact with one another instead of with children. And, for the cartoonists, not all troublemakers are boys and not all elementary teachers who are women are mean. And, just once in a great while, could the cat beat the dog to the homework?

The general time frame for illustration assignments is two to three weeks from the assignment to the final deadline.

Photographers, illustrators, and cartoonists retain copyright to work that we publish unless we have specified another agreement.

We pay upon publication and after receiving your invoice. We do not pay for incomplete, late, or unacceptable work.

Payment is for print and electronic use in one issue, which may include distribution of, through third party vendors such as EBSCO, PDFs of articles that include illustrations, photographs, and/or cartoons.

We provide three copies of the issue in which the photographs or illustrations appear, and tearsheets of published cartoons.

Send samples to: Design Director, Phi Delta Kappan, P.O. Box 7888, Bloomington, Indiana 47407-7888 OR via e-mail (or a link to your web portfolio) to kappan@pdkintl.org. Please do not telephone with inquiries or send unsolicited original work.

Cartoonist Guidelines

Kappan cartoons are well-known in the field of education and considered a hallmark of the publication. Kappan editors review hundreds of cartoons every month but are able to publish only a few.

Cartoons are typically reviewed within eight weeks of submission.

To submit original cartoons, please create a single pdf file, 8 to 10 pages in length, with one cartoon per page. Name the pdf file using this format:


Attach the pdf file to your e-mail and send to: manuscripts@pdkintl.org

Use the subject line: CARTOON SUBMISSION

We will review the cartoons and contact you by return e-mail to let you know whether or not we’re going to purchase any. If we decide to purchase cartoons, we’ll ask you to send a high-resolution jpg or tiff file.

Kappan also considers cartoons for its BackTalk feature each month. Cartoonists interested in submitting pieces for consideration in that space should contact kappan@pdkintl.org in advance of submission.

Illustrator Guidelines

Artists are selected to receive assignments based on samples and their previous experience. Many types of media are appropriate — pencil, graphite, acrylic, gouache, wash, ink, paper collage, construction — and should be submitted as digital art sent via e-mail.

Illustrators are expected to work from the original manuscript, concept notes, or the design director’s sketches to come up with several roughs or thumbnail sketches to show a choice of concepts and compositions. These may then be selected, refined, or altered by the editors or design director.

To be considered for freelance assignments or stock purchases, please send a link to your web portfolio to kappan@pdkintl.org.

Or mail printed samples of your work that can be kept on file to Design Director,
Phi Delta Kappan, P.O. Box 7888, Bloomington, IN 47407-7888. Label each sample with your name and contact information. If the sample was published, please include the name and date of the publication and any information you wish to include about the nature of the assignment.

Photographer’s Guidelines

Kappan rarely hires photographers for specific assignments.

We are most interested in looking at stock photos depicting a variety of school situations. Some subjects that we would like to see include racially and ethnically diverse students in classrooms or engaged in educational projects and groups of teachers and administrators interacting with one another and/or with children.

We sometimes need photos of specific age groups — kindergarten, early elementary, late elementary, middle, or high school students. We will only use photographs of children that have model releases signed by parents. We also cover some topics that work best with people turned away from the camera or in shadow.

Do not mail unsolicited original prints. We are not responsible for the loss of unsolicited work and we will not return submissions without an SASE of sufficient size and postage.

We prefer to review photography portfolios online. E-mail your web site information to kappan@pdkintl.org.