9 Building Blocks For a World-Class State Education System

The Center on International Education Benchmarking (CIEB), a program of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), conducts research on the world’s most successful education systems.

They just put out a new document (I hesitate to call it a report, as it reads more like an executive summary than a full report) called 9 Building Blocks For a World-Class State Education System.

The following disclaimer gives me some confidence in the authors:

We do not regard it as a definitive statement of research findings. We view it instead as a working hypothesis, one that we are constantly refining, based on our own research and the research of others. It is based on processes associated with industrial benchmarking, rigorous research of the conventional sort wherever that is available and expert opinion. It is constantly evolving as we get more information and better analysis. And it is constantly improving as it is tested by our experience and the experience of others.

To move things forward, here are the 9 Building Blocks:

  1. Provide strong supports for children and their families before students arrive at school.

  2. Provide more resources for at-risk students than for others.

  3. Develop world-class, highly coherent instructional systems.

  4. Create clear gateways for students through the system, set to global standards, with no dead ends.

  5. Assure an abundant supply of highly qualified teachers..
  6. Redesign schools to be places in which teachers will be treated as professionals, with incentives and support to continuously improve their professional practice and the performance of their students.

  7. Create an effective system of career and technical education and training.

  8. Create a leadership development system that develops leaders at all levels to manage such systems effectively.

  9. Institute a governance system that has the authority and legitimacy to develop coherent, powerful policies and is capable of implementing them at scale.

No time for analysis today, but at a glance it’s hard to find fault with the list. I feel very lucky to work within a system that has most of this in place.


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