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EdReform Revived

By Tom Vander Ark
Education Weekly
November 7, 2016

Securing great education opportunities for all learners at all levels was the originating intent of modern education reform. Animating the movement was a perceived threat to the economy and big gaps in opportunity.

Standards-based reforms sought to set clear high standards, measure progress, build capacity, attack gaps and expand options. With origins in the 1980s, we’ll look back on 1993 to 2015 (the tenure of secretaries Riley, Paige, Spellings and Duncan) as the era of standards-based reform. Most states got on board and passed legislation in the mid ’90s, the feds followed with bipartisan fervor, but execution never lived up to the hype.

While there was progress including thousands of proof points of what’s possible, it was the unintended consequences–including a narrowed curriculum and weeks of time devoted to testing and test prep–that monopolized the education dialog over the last two months. And now, even the poof points of possibility themselves are under attack in many cities.

Outside of education, innovation is sweeping the globe and transforming service delivery. But in U.S. K-12, policymakers are increasingly constraining the supply in order to predict the outcome, rather than set the outcome and allow the supply to develop to meet all demands.

The Center for Education Reform hosted a forum last week to look back at thirty years of EdReform and consider the path forward–in particular how to revive EdReform by incorporating innovation and opportunity to rapidly improve results.

The conversation between advocates, researchers and policymakers resulted in 10 takeaways–and perhaps an early framework to revive EdReform.

To read the full article visit Education Week.

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