Giving Compass' Take:

• The author notes that bipartisan change for American schools is necessary and possible. He outlines five principles to get the education system on the right track.

• How are politics and federal law impacting your local school systems and how can donors get involved in making change? 

• Read about the future of school governance. 

Sweeping changes to federal law and national politics have placed state and city leaders squarely in the driver’s seat of what education looks and feels like for America’s children. Especially in a time of social, political, and technological ferment, the result might have been a story of fractured and opposed approaches, with the needs of students lost in the noise. Bipartisan change for American schools is absolutely necessary, and it is possible.

There is a functional consensus among the nation’s boldest education leaders, producing not identical policies, but a set of vital principles that drive approaches shaped to the needs of each of their communities.

5 Principles for Bipartisan Change for American Schools:
  • Real access to excellent public school choices: That means clear information for parents, equitable access to great schools, and fair funding to meet students’ needs.
  • Challenging, worthwhile, engaging curriculum: All students deserve a learning experience that challenges them, feels relevant to them, ignites their curiosity, and prepares them for college, meaningful careers, and life.
  • A focus on excellent teaching, and preparation and supports for teachers: Teachers are professionals, and they should be treated that way. We must ensure that teachers have the preparation and support they need.
  • Accountability: Schools should be evaluated based on student learning, in unambiguous terms and according to college- and career-readiness standards benchmarked against those of high-performing states and countries.
  • Freedom from fear, freedom to learn: We reject hatred and bigotry as well as dogmatic approaches to learning that stifle discussion, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

The principles these leaders have put forward are easy to espouse in rhetoric but take courage to act on, consistently and in the face of pushback. When leaders demonstrate that courage, students, and families benefit.

Read the full article on bipartisan change for American schools by Mike Magee at The 74.