Monday, June 28, 2010

Education: Four Ideas from Brookings

A new policy brief from the Brookings Institution addresses the importance of education to the U.S. economy and provides ideas for ways to improve the U.S. education system. The brief, Spurring Innovation Through Education: Four Ideas, by Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst offers four achievable and low-cost policy proposals:

  • Choose K–12 curriculum based on evidence of effectiveness.
  • Evaluate teachers in ways that meaningfully differentiate levels of performance.
  • Accredit online education providers so they can compete with traditional schools across district and state lines.
  • Provide the public with information that will allow comparison of the labor market outcomes and price of individual postsecondary degree and certificate programs.
The brief does not suggest that the four ideas highlighted would alone be enough to dramatically reform every aspect of education, but rather that education reform should begin with straightforward, ready to implement, and promising actions based on research and past experience. The brief also includes a section on barriers to innovation and reform as well as an examination of two popular education reforms: expanding the public charter school sector at the expense of traditional public schools and setting national standards for what students should know.

This policy brief is a good resource for states considering education reforms. The brief is also a great resource in considering the relationship between educational attainment and GDP.
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