Dear Ms. Duin,
I found your article in the Washington Times online this morning rather amusing, though more to the point, excessively irritating. I have attended many SCBWI events and have gained so much from them, that I now volunteer and put a lot of work into organizing an event. You begin by attributing some dubious claims to the organizers of some Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conferences.
These conferences lure you with the hope that you can be the next J.K. Rowling. The reality is far nastier, despite the names of various agents, publishers, magazine editors and art directors that grace the society's brochures.
You imply that these conferences proffer false hopes and make empty promises, as if they were scurrilous vanity publishers or unethical agents who prey on unsuspecting writers willing to fork over their dollars for even the smallest possibility of getting their book published. Believe me, there are plenty of people out there willing to con writers, good and bad, out of their money and it's not the SCBWI. I suggest you check out Predators & Editors and Writer Beware Blogs! to make sure you won't become a victim.