Q. What is Education Reimagined?

A. Education Reimagined is an initiative dedicated to the realization of learner-centered education in America. We see an emerging movement of pioneers across the country working to transform education. We seek to accelerate the growth of this movement by connecting, amplifying, and empowering pioneers and contributing to a new public conversation.

This initiative arose out of a Convergence-led dialogue process that convened 28 ideologically diverse education stakeholders to reimagine education. They emerged from this process united behind a transformational vision for education and committed to continuing their work together to make it a reality. Education Reimagined, now an initiative of Convergence, was formed to support them—now the Advisory Board—in this pursuit.

Q. Who is Convergence?

A. Convergence is a national non-profit that convenes people and groups with conflicting views to build trust, identify solutions, and form alliances for action on critical national issues. It hosts projects on a broad range of issues, such as education, long-term care financing, poverty and economic mobility, and nutrition and wellness. It achieves outcomes through structured, facilitated dialogue and long-term relationship building, shifting the focus from winning the debate to collectively seeking solutions.

Q. What’s so different about this vision?

A. It is not a mandate or a blueprint. Rather, this vision offers a beacon toward which to aspire and a challenge and invitation to transform rather than reform. It sets out a future that inspires people and communities—­perhaps once divided—to come together for its realization.

The vision’s power and uniqueness comes from the diversity of those who created it. They are a group of educational practitioners, scholars, business and union leaders, parents, and advocates—no two with the same background or perspective. Collectively, they are leaders in conversations on blended learning, disruptive technology, deeper learning, connected learning, personalized learning, social and emotional learning, community schooling, out-of-school learning, teaching improvement, the teaching profession and its collective leadership, school choice, and more.

Together, they were able to create a vision that honors and values the points of view of all of those engaged in the work of education: learners, teachers, parents, unions, businesses, charter schools, administrators, civic leaders, and education advocates and organizations.

Q. Why do we need to transform and not reform our education system?

A. For years and years, we’ve been investing time, resources, and money in fixing our education system, with only isolated successes that fail to reach the majority of kids. The public conversation on education has been filled with debates and arguments about who and what is to blame for this lack of success.

It is not until you look at the system itself, designed in the last century, that you begin to see that no one is to blame. The system was not designed to produce the results we now want for our children. Its assembly-line approach, designed for standardization and efficiency, expects all kids to be at the same place at the same time, to learn at the same pace, in similar ways, and to show proficiency through standardized assessments. This mismatch of system design and current 21st-century requirements and realities often leaves teachers exhausted, parents frustrated, and children uninspired and unprepared, despite everyone’s best efforts.  

Continuing to tweak the current model of education is a little like trying to tweak the model-T engine to fly us to the moon. It is time for us to build the rocketship—making use of what we know about brain science, technology, innovation, building networks, and much more to offer all children the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need now and in the future. It’s time to free ourselves from the current constraints of standardization and transform our system. 

Q. What could success look like in the next 5 years?

A. We have drafted what we think success might look like for the learner-centered movement, as a whole, 5 years from now. Rather than serving as concrete, measurable goals, these ambitions represent a direction in which to move and would require collaboration and contribution from education pioneers across the country. We are in ongoing conversation to continue to develop and refine a collective image of success.

Q. How is the change going to happen?

A. This is an idea whose time has come. All across the country, pioneers are arriving at similar visions of great learning and working towards learner-centered education. We believe that fostering an environment for those pioneers to thrive will lead us to many new models that bring the vision to life. With these pioneers leading the way, many others will follow, building on the learnings, systems, and tools that they have built. The demand is out there. 

Once the spark is lit, it will catch like wildfire.

Q. Are there any schools or districts where we can see this vision in reality?

A. Not yet. The realization of this vision requires a transformation of the entire system—shifts in mindsets, practices, policies and structures.  While we believe it will be a few years before there will be any communities that have made this full transition, thousands of learning environments are on their way. 

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We recently announced a new R&D acceleration initiative to connect and support local communities ready to bring public, equitable, learner-centered ecosystems to life.