This paper, funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, examines the demand for innovation by educator and student users, school and district buyers, policymakers, and others who provide funding for educational goods and services.
As we consider creating change in public education, we must remember that the world around our public schools has changed, and our expectations for what our schools must deliver have risen. Where we once built public schools to educate a small number of citizens to a high level—and get the rest culturally assimilated—we’ve since layered onto those schools requirements like equitable access and funding, concrete academic standards, and assessment and accountability mechanisms intended to demonstrate whether students are making real progress against those standards. What’s more, we’re increasingly asking that schools prepare all children to earn a college degree. But expecting the public school system to deliver at both a higher level and a larger scale than it was designed to do—and with the same dollars, or increasingly even fewer—is the classic definition of a productivity crisis.