New US report unites disparate groups around common agenda

˙ PREAL Blog

We are pleased to share with you this second edition of a national education report card produced jointly between groups from both sides of the political spectrum – the liberal Center for American Progress and the conservative American Enterprise Institute, as well as the US Chamber of Commerce. This interactive, online report card assesses practices and policies in eight substantive areas across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and this year features a focus on the “future, looking not at how states are performing today, but at what they are doing to prepare themselves for the challenges that lie ahead.” The president of the US Chamber of Commerce commented in a recent article that the report suggests the existence of “only a faint pulse of innovation in our schools,” which must be turned into “a strong heartbeat.”

The 2009 Report Card demonstrates both an innovative way to assess education systems as well as to make this information accessible and compelling to a broad audience. Given its mix of unlikely collaborators, it also serves as a noteworthy example of bringing together otherwise disparate viewpoints to create depoliticized common ground on education policy issues. It also bears noting that many of the findings, such as “major barriers exist to the removal of poor-performing teachers” and recommendations such as “support charter schools and other forms of public school choice” are both substantive and progressive, and may represent emerging consensus points on a future reform agenda. 

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