Identifying Space for Invention: Expanding Learner-Centered Opportunities Through Policy Possibilities
Note from Education Reimagined 02 November 2022
By Sarah Bishop-Root
It is time not to struggle within the bounds of what is but to be freed by the possibilities of a socially just, learner-centered future for education.
Partner for Policy Leadership at Education Reimagined
It is an exciting time at Education Reimagined. The organization has been at work for the past several years spreading the learner-centered vision and growing the field, through program offerings and partnerships.
The learner-centered vision is resonating more and more, as it has become so clear to many — policymakers, state education leaders, partners, business leaders, community organizations, and practitioners — that there is an unprecedented urgency and necessity to explore how to transform the education system. Education design needs are changing and impacting the realities of community contexts and conditions within states, from policy to infrastructure.
We must remain clear and steadfast if we are to leverage these emerging openings and truly transform the system, and we, together, must strive to better understand the tools we need across the system to get there. We must untether from the conventional system anchored in a classroom which inhibits learner-centered education system transformation from fully coming to fruition. It is time not to struggle within the bounds of what is but to be freed by the possibilities of a socially just, learner-centered future for education.
One of the key discoveries we must pursue is clarity about the enabling conditions and policies that make learner-centered education possible — both those that already exist and those we must create. That’s why I’m taking on the role of Partner for Policy Leadership. I recently shared my personal story in the post, Finding Freedom in a Learner-Centered Paradigm. In addition to the growing need nationally, my own personal experiences have deepened my commitment and charge to contribute to this work on behalf of every learner in this nation.
While we will not be developing model legislation or lobbying, we will be generating research and ideas that can help inform the work of allies and partners committed to learner-centered education system transformation and growing learner-centered ecosystems.
Partner for Policy Leadership at Education Reimagined
In my new role as Partner for Policy Leadership at Education Reimagined, I will be delving into the conditions within states to catalyze invention and identify the policy opportunities that can be leveraged and obstacles that should be removed to design community-based, learner-centered ecosystems. While we will not be developing model legislation or lobbying, we will be generating research and ideas that can help inform the work of allies and partners committed to learner-centered education system transformation and growing learner-centered ecosystems.
I’ll be exploring questions such as:
- What are the existing education policy and learner- and family-driven opportunities within states that can be reframed and leveraged to open the door to learner-centered design and implementation?
- What are the education policy obstacles that are slowing down learner-centered system transformation?
- Based on analysis of conditions and policies within states, where are there emerging opportunities for community-based learner-centered ecosystems?
Emily Liebtag, Education Reimagined’s Chief Programs & Partnerships Officer, shared how this adds to the foundation the organization is building for learner-centered ecosystems to come to life across the country. “This is an exciting addition to the breadth of Education Reimagined’s work. If we are to go beyond model-by-model or school-by-school transformation, we must look to the conditions that either enable or inhibit transformation — the invention of ecosystems will require that we have the funding, policy freedoms, and on-the-ground invention to go beyond what has previously been possible. As we lay the groundwork for these ecosystems to flourish, it will be essential that our organization builds a more nuanced understanding of which states already have the conditions and policies for these ecosystems to be invented and supported.”
As we listen and learn from the inventors in the field who have already planted the seeds for learner-centered invention, we will analyze and understand how current policy opportunities can be reframed as tools to be leveraged. We will also explore new policy ideas and how they can open doors of endless possibilities for how we can enable and bring to life thriving, learner-centered experiences that reach every child, inclusive of race, income, and zip code.
This work is about learning, gathering information, analyzing, and building new understanding. It is also about building, deepening, and leveraging partnerships with both new and long-time allies. I am filled with excitement about the possibilities that await outside the constraining box of the conventional education system. I look forward to this journey of exploration and discovery together.
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