To achieve the goal of college and career readiness and civic engagement, far more students, particularly low-income students and students of color, must be supported in meeting the high expectations that life in the 21st Century demands. Education systems should be redesigned and centered on students. This will require a renewed commitment to examine inequities in the nation's education systems and redouble our efforts to provide historically underserved students with the educational opportunities and supports they need to succeed.
The vision and work of the Consortium is grounded in a number of shared values and a set of policy priorities.
- Education leaders have a duty to reaffirm and strengthen the nation's commitment to equal opportunity for all students, regardless of background or circumstance, and to ensure that the needs of every learner are met.
- The importance and promise of public education should be reaffirmed through policies and practices that ensure that every learner has access to effective instruction and supports. These policies and practices must be designed and implemented so that the strength of public education systems is not undercut.
- Every student should have a seamless pathway from early learning to college and career readiness and civic engagement.
- Accountability and transparency are and should continue to be hallmarks of education systems, but with greater focus on the use of multiple sources of meaningful data on all aspects of student, educator, and system performance.
- Accountability and support systems should promote systemic capacity building and continuous improvement through a focus on the cultivation of leadership skills and enhancement of instructional practice.
- Education policy should be informed by best practice and foster - not deter - innovation. Meeting the needs of every student requires the development of innovative models of learning, advancements in instructional practice, and the more effective use of limited resources.
The Consortium seeks changes in federal and state policy in the following areas, just as it seeks the transformation of district and school practices.
21st Century Outcomes. Education systems must support all students in achieving readiness for college, career, and civic engagement, including the mastery of rigorous content knowledge and the ability to apply knowledge through higher-order skills including critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. These systems must be driven by the establishment of clear, high, internationally benchmarked standards and expectations, as well as the design and implementation of comprehensive and robust assessment systems. Outcomes should be benchmarked against the highest performing systems in the U.S. and worldwide.
Accountability for Success. Accountability systems reflecting 21st Century outcomes must utilize multiple measures of performance and growth, with a continued focus on achievement for all students. A wide array of data and information should be considered as part of a regular diagnostic review process that is integral to continuous improvement processes in all aspects of education systems.
Highly Effective Human Capital. Human capital systems must ensure that every student has access to highly effective educators. Achieving this requires improvement in every aspect of current systems, from educator preparation programs to ongoing, embedded coaching and development – along with a willingness to try new approaches. Educators must have timely access to an array of actionable data and information directly relevant to their instructional efforts, even as their instructional strategies will continue to evolve in light of technological and related changes.
Capacity to Transform. Education systems and practices must be transformed to meet the needs of 21st Century learners and communities. This can only take place through efforts to build and enhance system-wide capacity so that the necessary guidance and instruction can be most effectively provided to students. Issues associated with capacity should be routinely assessed as a foundation for the development of plans for continuous improvement toward high standards. Strategic investments in professional development, better use of time and other limited resources, and the like are essential.
College and Career Alignment, Birth to 20. Policies and programs across the education spectrum must be aligned to ensure seamless pathways toward college and career readiness outcomes, with the provision of an educational experience that purposefully builds on knowledge and skill acquisition at each stage of learning.
Comprehensive Systems of Student Supports. Students and their families must have access to a wide array of support services including those focused on social emotional learning and positive behavior practices. These systems should be grounded in research and best practice, aligned with system-wide performance metrics to assess effectiveness and impact on student outcomes. They should be designed to meet the goal of preparing all students for college, career, and civic engagement.
Autonomy for Innovation. Education systems must be reoriented to incent innovation. Districts and schools that have a record of promoting the success of all students must be encouraged to design and try new models and approaches without undue oversight or constraint (which may impede progress).