The Education Redesign Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education launched By All Means in February 2016, to rethink education and child development systems in partnership with local communities. 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, field work in seven communities—Louisville, KY; Oakland, CA; Providence, RI; Chattanooga-Hamilton County, TN; Salem, MA; Somerville, MA; and through the state-wide work of the Partnership for Resilience in IL.
Our field work initiatives support local communities as they create cross-sector systems of child-well being and education. We are working to redefine education with our partners in the field. The current approach to education does not serve many of our children well. What is required is a broader conception of what is needed to ensure children's success which includes domains not typically considered part of the education system such as health and out-of-school time offerings. To learn more about our early observations, see Building City-Wide Systems of Opportunity for Children: Initial Lessons from the By All Means Consortium.
The goal of this work is to bring together entrepreneurial and committed city and community 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 community 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 hosts a series of five convenings that bring together policymakers, educators, and community leaders to re-envision public education and its governance.