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Fewer than one in five American students follow a clear and uninterrupted path from high school through college to career. The promise of a public education is to prepare all learners to engage in, contribute to, and achieve purpose in the world, both as it is today and as it will be tomorrow. And yet, the American education system as we know it is insufficient to realize this commitment. This fall the Aurora Institute is releasing a book that issues a call to action to states to enact a Learner Promise: a commitment that every learner will have access and support to pursue pathways with system-wide opportunities that guarantee entry into meaningful, chosen careers that will build social and economic capital over the course of their lives. Operating under this promise, states would enact systems of governance, policy, and infrastructure to certify that learners who demonstrate competencies in K12, postsecondary, workforce, and community settings along supported pathways with access to continuing education and a purposeful, living-wage career. States would commit to taking the systemic policy actions necessary to disrupt inequities in access, engagement, and attainment for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income students. And, states would reimagine education not as a linear, time-bound sequence of learning that occurs within institutions of formal education, but as a learning ecosystem: an equitable, dynamic, and responsive system in which learners can customize their learning experiences as they navigate learning experiences and pathways across schools, workplaces, and communities. Join co-author Dr. Katherine Casey to learn about the book’s findings and explore strategies for action.

Session Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand critical forces shaping and reshaping the future of education, employment, and equity.
  2. Understand key components of thriving pathways and ecosystems, including culture, learning systems, and infrastructure.
  3. Identify opportunities to affect multi-level systems change.


  • Dr. Katherine Casey, imaginEDU