California Innovations Yield Differential Pace of Change

California is synonymous with innovation. Over decades and across sectors, California has been a leader — from tech start-ups to agricultural advances and environmental solutions. In the private sector, companies race to market with their ideas in order to capitalize on ingenuity.California state capitol building in portrait orientation

However, in the public sector, the incentives are not the same. In education, moving from a spark of creativity to scaled practice often takes decades. In some cases — like early childhood education, expanded learning, community schools and college & career pathways — policymakers eventually have recognized promising practices and invested huge amounts to incentivize and spread those strategies across the state. Those large investments often take years to rollout, and result in disparate levels of fidelity and effectiveness.

Pulling Levers to Address Most Entrenched Problems in Education

While we celebrate the current investments, and hope for demonstrative results, they do not go far enough to address the most entrenched problems facing schools and young people. To elevate a set of high-leverage, high-impact solutions, Scaling Student Success recently released our 2024 Policy White Paper: A Student-Centered Approach to Education.

The Legacy Model of Education is not Working

Across the country, states are moving to systems of education that increasingly are student-centered, equitable, and competency-based. They are doing so because they understand that the legacy model for educating our young people is not working. While graduation rates have increased, other markers of progress have not. Standardized test scores remain relatively flat. Achievement and opportunity gaps persist despite decades of increased funding and abundant strategies to reduce them. Chronic absenteeism is near an all-time high.

The reality is that too many students do not find school to be interesting, engaging, or relevant for their futures. This is particularly true for kids of color and other marginalized student populations. Rather than continuing to tinker around the edges, while students remain disengaged, we can advance real change!

Join Education Leaders and Support the Policy Paper

The policy paper and associated recommendations resonate with leading educators, many of whom have endorsed it on behalf of their organizations. See the list of supporters. Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), an independent, non-partisan research center, recently shared the policy paper and its recommendations with their thousands of subscribers through this commentary.

Featured photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash.

California state capitol building photo (portrait mode) by Joel Durkee on Unsplash