Friday, March 16, 2012

A 21st Century Department of Education!!?

Instead of do away with the U.S. Department of Education, like so many Republican presidential candidates have insisted on, why not reformulates its structure! The following ideas hit me in a positive way. Peter W. Cookson Jr., president of Ideas without Borders, came up with it. It’s just a first glance, but worth a look:
Ed Week: Scrap the bureaucratic organization of the current Education Department in favor of a flat, functional, and future-oriented organizational structure, consisting of four interconnected and mission-driven centers:

The Center for 21st Century Learning and Classrooms. This center would bring together the country's best thinkers and innovators to invent new ways of learning, to uncover the dynamic curricula currently buried under the weight of inert tradition, and to demonstrate how new communication technologies can raise levels of learning for all children.

The Center for the Dissemination of Best Practices. The mission of this center would be to aggregate suggested best practices and subject them to fundamental tests of validity and reliability. Once best practices were authenticated, they would be listed in a virtual library of best practices accessible to all.

The Center for Innovation and Investment. the department could position itself as an investor in the future, with clear criteria for distributing federal funds to jump-start long-term, self-sustaining innovations.  The department would grant money with an expectation of clear, measurable results, whether through funding the physical improvement of schools; scholarships for lifelong learning; research that matters; or supporting states, school districts, and schools in economic distress.

The Center for International Education and Cooperation. By disseminating best practices internationally, by building 21st-century schools around the world in collaboration with other nations and nonprofit organizations, and by leading in research and development, the United States will become the gateway to a prosperous and peaceful global society. If we lose public education, our society will be diminished and our chances of realizing Madison's vision virtually nil. 

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