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The Case for Systemic Reform

In a recent Education Week blog titled “The Next Big Idea, or Systemic Reform,” opinion authors Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers write,

“Let this be a call, out to the field, to say that this is the time we must start leading the change. Let this be a call to all of us to figure out how we can come together and leverage all that we know, all that makes sense, and create the 'Next-Gen Schools' our students so badly need. We need leaders who know themselves, are compassionate, courageous, and thoughtful, who can listen and can galvanize large groups of people to come together no matter their differences. Schools must change, not with the next good idea, but with a major shift that lets go of what hasn't worked, no matter how committed we are to preserving it, and creates a system that keeps the best of what we have and blends it into the schools we must create."

Of course, we at ERS heartily support the authors’ call for bold, strategic, system-level reform. The authors describe the effects of well-intentioned but piecemeal initiatives that often don’t work in their context. We agree that school systems need to be organized around a deliberate central vision, one that connects a school system’s resources to real student and teacher needs. This takes bold leadership—a willingness to, as the authors say, “let go of what hasn’t worked” and “keep the best of what we have.”

We believe that our School System 20/20 framework offers one blueprint for such strategic reform. And we want to hear your thoughts and reactions. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and sign up for our newsletters to join in the evolving conversation. Together, we can move toward a future where every school succeeds for every student.

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