- K-12 Education
- Higher Education
- Who We Are
What We Believe
Students in America deserve a high-quality, publicly financed education through high school. They deserve the financial help necessary to attend high-quality colleges and universities. And they should be able to update their knowledge and skills throughout their lives. These educational opportunities are essential to participatory democracy, economic vitality, and robust civic life in the United States.
Our education system today serves a wider range of students more effectively than at any time in the past and the level of knowledge, skill, and commitment our nation's educators bring to their work is routinely underestimated. Educating students well is far more complicated and difficult than is commonly understood.
Yet our education system is not nearly as effective as it could and must be. It fails to challenge many students and it often fails to be the engine of opportunity that our increasingly diverse democracy and a competitive global economy requires. Despite much progress, we remain a nation deeply divided by race and class and our elementary and secondary and higher education systems contribute significantly to that troubling reality. America has sought in recent generations to be a meritocracy, but a lack of equal educational opportunity is undermining that goal. Some inequities result from long-standing disparities in educational resources. But many others result from systemic flaws that increased funding or modest reforms alone cannot address.
Meaningful improvement must start with a commitment to the notion that all students can learn to high standards. Poverty and other social problems make the work of educators more difficult. But economic and racial determinism have no place in American education. Educators must not calibrate their expectations to students' backgrounds; they must be expected to educate every student.
While students must learn to think critically and independently, there are specific skills and sorts of knowledge that schools and colleges should impart to all students.
We should create every opportunity for new ideas to flourish and for innovators to thrive in American education; it is time to rethink what public education is and who public educators are. Students' diverse needs are best served by a range of educational options. Consumer choice in education and competition among schools for students can help make such options available to more students. But such reforms must treat students equitably and provide for public accountability.
Education policies and practices should be based on sound empirical evidence. And educators, schools, and colleges should be held accountable and rewarded for their performance under measures that are fair and accurate.
Creating a sense of community, connectedness, and empowerment in schools is also critical to motivating students and teachers to do their best work. Too many students and teachers don't care because they don't feel cared about. There is a human side of school reform that is too often ignored.
These ideas guide our work.
Back to Our Mission and Strategy.