New KnowledgeWorks Paper Explores the Future Landscape of Education Reform

Opportunities for change in the future of education changemaking

Topics: Future of Learning

Shaping the Future of American Public Education: What’s Next for Changemakers?, looks at key questions about the impacts of our collective efforts to improve American public education.A new paper, Shaping the Future of American Public Education: What’s Next for Changemakers?©, released by KnowledgeWorks forecasts how and why education changemakers—individuals, grantmakers, and organizations influencing, investing in, and advocating for various forms of education reform— might work to influence the education system in the future and what effects their efforts might have. The paper delves more deeply into concepts presented in KnowledgeWorks Forecast 4.0, The Future of Learning: Education in the Era of Partners in Code.

Rapidly changing social, economic, and policy factors have altered the context and nature of education reform, creating new opportunities for change.

“Given today’s relatively open education reform landscape, we think it vital that changemakers consider how to seize this moment of opportunity to promote equity and ensure that the system can support individuals and society in preparing for a complex future,” said Katherine Prince, KnowledgeWorks vice president of strategic foresight.

The paper presents four possible scenarios for the future of education changemaking. Set in 2028, the four scenarios are introduced and then explored in further detail throughout the paper:

  • Patchwork Solutions: Educators and changemakers are implementing a wide array of solutions, potentially leading to a fragmented landscape of reform.
  • Shooting for the Moon: Education organizations and influencers are challenged to work collaboratively to make big, bold change at the state level.
  • By the People, for the People: A shift toward community leadership means a surge of grassroots education changemaking efforts that involve students and others who are often excluded from decision-making processes.
  • On Our Own: Communities look to find creative solutions to maintain and improve their areas’ public education systems on shoestring budgets and without significant support from other sectors.

The scenarios are meant to aid changemakers and stakeholders in considering strategic efforts related to their and others’ approaches.

“We hope this paper gives stakeholders the opportunity to take a step back and examine their values and beliefs about what types of education reform they want to see and engage in, given the current trajectory and the possibility of change,” said Katie King, strategic foresight engagement lead for KnowledgeWorks.

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing personalized learning that empowers all students to take ownership of their success.

With more than 50 professionals working in 11 states, KnowledgeWorks is uniquely positioned to transform cradle to career education because we’re the only organization that simultaneously engages in strategic forecasting, governmental advocacy and working directly with schools. Throughout our 20-year history, we’ve been passionate about collaborating to create a system-wide approach that grows and sustains student-centered practices – all to equip learners for career and life success.

Through customized professional development, in-depth research such as forecasts on the future of learning and federal education policy guidance and state-level ESSA implementation support, KnowledgeWorks has created opportunities for more than 135,000 students in 20 states through competency-based learning and early