By All Means

Redesigning Education to Restore Opportunity

The Harvard Graduate School of Education launched a major initiative in February 2016, run by the Education Redesign Lab, to rethink education and child development systems.

By All Means will address the iron-clad correlation in the U.S. between a child’s socio-economic status and his or her prospects for educational achievement through two key strategies: deep field work in a select number of cities, and a series of national convenings at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


This initiative will address system redesign and implementation, with a focus on these questions: “What can be done through systems of education to help disadvantaged students overcome the ravages of poverty so that they can become genuinely ready for success?” “Who should do it?” “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 not only a radical step but also a bold statement from a school of education, as it both acknowledges that the current approach to school does not serve many of our children well even where it has been most successful, and it broadens the conception of what is needed to ensure children’s success to domains not typically considered part of the education system.

The City Consortium

The goal of this work is to connect entrepreneurial and committed city leaders from a select group of six cities dedicated to achieving systemic, integrated improvements in services for children directly with the expertise of Harvard faculty and design leaders. Participating cities will launch an ambitious plan for change that will include: creating personalized and differentiated learning experiences for students; integrating social, emotional and health services with education services; providing easily accessible, high quality out-of-school learning experiences for all children; and enacting governance structures that will support this integrated model of services for children. Each city will design its own ambitious agenda with the support of a site-based consultant. Teams will be supported in using design-thinking strategies to create a plan for change that is inclusive of the community and builds on existing initiatives.


The Harvard Graduate School of Education will host a series of five conferences over 2+ years that bring together policy makers, educators and community leaders to re- envision public education and its governance. Each conference will combine a provocative public forum with an invitational design workshop for participating cities. Topics include: • Poverty Matters: Making the Case for a System Overhaul; • Redesigning Teaching and Learning; • Redesigning for Children’s Well-Being; • Redesigning for Students’ Access to Enrichment; and • Tackling Issues of Implementation and Governance.