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Aurora Institute

Press Release

Aurora Institute Calls on Federal and State Education Policymakers to Transform K-12 Education


WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 9, 2020)—With a goal to ensure our nation’s education system is fit for purpose; oriented for anytime, anywhere learning; and better able to prepare students for the future, the Aurora Institute (@Aurora_Inst) today announced its broad-based education policy agenda in Future-Focused State Policy Actions to Transform K-12 Education and Federal Policy Priorities to Accelerate Education Innovation.

The Aurora Institute developed the federal and state policy priorities with the support of more than 8,500 educators in its community. Guided by values of educational equity and future-readiness for all learners, the agenda is a set of 15 recommendations to make the nation’s education system fit for purpose, including a special recommendation to ensure continuity of learning—made particularly relevant by the current COVID-19 school closures.

Taken together, the policy priorities challenge lawmakers and education decision-makers to wield their influence and take advantage of existing opportunities to disrupt the traditional one-size-fits-all model of K-12 teaching and learning and unleash learning from the confines of place and time. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act, Innovative Assessment Demonstration pilot program, Perkins V, along with a slate of state policy and practice opportunities, each contain levers to move our education system from what it is to what it could be.

“Our current crisis demonstrates that the nation’s outdated approach to teaching and learning in K-12 education is no longer the right tool for the task of ensuring each child graduates and has the requisite skills for lifelong learning, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity,” said Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute president and CEO (@SusanDPatrick). “These briefs point to key issues needed to transform the structure, culture, and practices to expand access and opportunity and address gaps. We hope to work with policymakers to create the necessary conditions for change.”

At the state level, the Aurora Institute Center for Policy is supporting policy analysis and making recommendations to governors, state legislators, education agencies, school leaders, and other policymakers to work together with their communities to:

  1.   Establish Profiles of a Graduate
  2.   Launch Innovation Zones
  3.   Create Competency-Based Education Task Forces & Pilots
  4.   Offer Credit Flexibility
  5.   Make Credentials Meaningful
  6.   Align the pathways between K-12, higher education, career and technical and education, and the workforce — and make them competency-based
  7.   Modernize the Educator Workforce
  8.   Diversify the Educator Workforce
  9.   Produce Balanced Systems of Assessments
  10. Create Next-Generation Accountability Systems
  11. Ensure Continuity of Learning

At the federal level, there are opportunities to free states and local communities to innovate. At a glance, the priorities are to:

  1. Prepare Educator-Leaders for the Future,
  2. Increase Access and Affordability to Diversify Educator Talent Pools,
  3. Expand the Innovative Assessment Pilot, and
  4. Increase Access to Broadband Connectivity.

Download in Future-Focused State Policy Actions to Transform K-12 Education and Federal Policy Priorities to Accelerate Education Innovation for a full analysis of these issues. Policymakers at all levels are encouraged to contact the Aurora Institute Center for Policy for more information or assistance.

About Aurora Institute

Aurora’s mission is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Aurora is shaping the future of teaching and learning for more than 14 million students through its work in policy advocacy, research, and field-building/convening. We work on systems change in K-12 education, identify root causes in structures, promote best practices, examine policy barriers, and make recommendations for change. Aurora has a national and global view of education innovation and lifts up promising policies and practices that yield improved outcomes for students. Aurora envisions a world where all people are empowered to attain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to achieve success, contribute to their communities, and advance society.

Media Inquiries

To schedule an interview with Aurora Institute staff or to request data and research, please contact DeQuendre Bertrand.

Office: (703) 752-6216

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