Redesigning Education to Restore Opportunity
The Harvard Graduate School of Education launched By All Means in February 2016, run by the Education Redesign Lab, to rethink education and child development systems. The initiative is addressing the iron law correlation in the U.S. between a child’s socioeconomic status and his or her prospects for educational achievement through several key strategies: research and dissemination, policy and advocacy, deep field work in seven communities–Louisville, KY; Oakland, CA; Providence, RI; and Salem, Somerville, Illinois - Partnership for Resilience, and Chattanooga-Hamilton County, TN–and a series of national convenings at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
This initiative is addressing system redesign and implementation, with a focus on these questions:
- What can be done to create new systems of education and support to help disadvantaged students overcome the obstacles of poverty?
- Who must come together to do the work?
- What systems of governance are best suited to the new system?
- How do we build systems of education that genuinely prepare all children to be successful?
Asking such questions is a bold statement from a school of education, as it acknowledges that the current approach to education does not serve many of our children well and it broadens the conception of what is needed to ensure children’s success to domains not typically considered part of the education system. To learn more about some of the Lab's initial observations on these questions, visit Building City-Wide Systems of Opportunity for Children: Initial Lessons from the By All Means Consortium.
The City Consortium
The goal of this work is to bring together entrepreneurial and committed city leaders, from a select group of seven communities, dedicated to achieving systemic, integrated improvements in services for children, and connect them with the expertise of Harvard faculty and national leaders. Participating cities are launching ambitious plans for change that include components of the Education Redesign Lab’s strategy for systemic change: creating student-centered, customized learning experiences for students; integrating social, emotional, and health services with education; providing easily accessible, high quality expanded learning and enrichment experiences for all children; and creating governance structures that will support this integrated model of services. Each city is designing its own ambitious agenda, created through a Children’s Cabinet with the support of a site-based consultant, to develop a plan for change that is inclusive of the community and builds on existing initiatives.
To accelerate the work, the Harvard Graduate School of Education is hosting a series of five convenings over 2.5 years that bring together policymakers, educators, and community leaders to re-envision public education and its governance.