KnowledgeWorks calls on Education Department to scale innovative, evidence-based approaches to K-12 ed reform

Memo to Secretary Duncan includes adoption of competency-based education, collective impact initiatives
Washington, DC

(November 26, 2012) – KnowledgeWorks today called for the U.S. Department of Education to scale innovative and evidence-based practices in K-12 education by focusing on four key areas of reform that the social enterprise believes will have a positive impact on schools in the United States.
In a memorandum to Education Department Secretary Arne Duncan, KnowledgeWorks CEO Brian Ross asked the administration to accelerate reform in the areas of competency-based education, turnaround of struggling K-12 schools, community and collective impact, and strengthening the capacity of states to respond to educational challenges.
“The next four years will be crucial for education in the United States, because the expectation is that our kids must be better prepared for college and next-generation careers,” Ross said. “In order to scale innovation to cause impact, the next set of federal education reforms must build on strategies and programs with a proven track record of success.”
Lillian Pace, KnowledgeWorks’ Senior Director of National Policy, said the memo urges the administration to build on past initiatives -- including Race to the Top and state waivers of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) -- by scaling what works.
“While the most recent education reform efforts have focused on mechanics, we encourage the administration to focus on scaling innovative ideas such as competency-based learning, which is geared toward mastery of a subject, and greater community involvement in competitive school grant programs,” Pace said.
The memo, issued as the administration and Congress outline second-term priorities, called for both entities to “build upon the change initiated during the last four years, focusing on the innovative ideas that maximize the ability of our K-12 schools to increase student achievement and prepare students for college and careers.”
KnowledgeWorks has long been an advocate for forward-thinking approaches to education reform, having scaled up high school subsidiaries, New Tech Network, which encourages project-based learning in a student-centered environment; and EDWorks, whose approach includes Fast Track early college high schools and New Start school turnaround.
In addition to EDWorks and New Tech Network, KnowledgeWorks’ Strive subsidiary is actively building a national network of communities looking to establish the civic infrastructure needed to make disciplined decisions about the investment of educational resources. KnowledgeWorks has a presence in more than 185 schools and 80 communities in more than 25 states.
All KnowledgeWorks subsidiaries have an extensive track record of helping reform districts, communities, and schools, which provides the organization with a strong foundation for helping the federal government scale success.

KnowledgeWorks, a Cincinnati-based social enterprise, is bringing the future of learning to America’s high schools and creating widespread, lasting change in the communities and states we serve. Our portfolio of high school approaches includes New Tech Network , and EDWorks Fast Track, New Start and STEMLab high schools. KnowledgeWorks subsidiary Strive is a national initiative that works to build the civic infrastructure in communities to identify, sustain and scale what works for kids.

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