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Leading Education Thinkers Propose New K-12 Reform Agenda

February 16, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The toll of the pandemic years is becoming more clear every day: devastating learning loss among the nation’s K-12 students. Parents are angry and voting for change. They are telling pollsters they want more control over their children’s schools. But on education, there is no political consensus. There is no agreement about what needs to be done and no effective left-right coalition in place to drive reform.

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Donielle Lee
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A new collection of essays by leading education thinkers, Unlocking the Future: Toward a New Reform Agenda for K-12 Education, suggests some potential planks for a new approach. The authors are researchers, advocates and practitioners from across the political spectrum. But they agree as one on the need for bold, dramatic and far-reaching change to produce schools that work for the nation’s children.

The essay authors include:

John Bailey, nonresident senior fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Derrell Bradford, president, 50CAN

Denise Forte, president and CEO, The Education Trust

Paul Herdman, president and CEO, Rodel Foundation of Delaware

Tamar Jacoby, president, Opportunity America

Robin Lake, director, Center on Reinventing Public Education

Will Marshall, president and founder, Progressive Policy Institute

Frances Messano, CEO, NewSchools Venture Fund

Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Keri Rodrigues, founding president, National Parents Union

Andrew Rotherham, co-founder and partner, Bellwether

Ian Rowe, founder, Vertex Partnership Academies

Jessica Schurz, research associate, American Enterprise Institute

Matt Sigelman, president, Burning Glass Institute

The Walton Family Foundation provided funding to Opportunity America to support this project.

Click Here to Read the Essays
About Opportunity America

Opportunity America is a Washington think tank and policy shop promoting economic mobility - work, skills, careers, ownership and entrepreneurship for poor and working Americans.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the Foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

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