Students lose out when the adults in their lives get pulled in different directions. They lose out when their teachers teach one way to deliver a curriculum, and another to prepare them for standardized tests. They lose out when what they learn in one grade doesn’t prepare them for the next. Students also lose out when principals must focus on paperwork and not on improving instruction. 

This lack of coherence stems from fragmentation — a complex and widespread issue of growing concern in schools nationwide. In response, the education program at Carnegie Corporation of New York commissioned a report, From Fragmentation to Coherence: How more integrative ways of working could accelerate improvement and progress toward equity in education. Meant for practitioners at all levels of the education system, including those in the public, nonprofit, and business sectors, this resource offers practical insights into the causes, consequences, and potential remedies of fragmentation.

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As a companion to the paper, the Corporation has published a series of essays by its grantees in the Integration Design Consortium (IDC), an initiative to build the capacity of education and community leaders to work in ways that foster greater coherence and allow for meaningful improvements in education and more progress toward equity for all students.  

Photo: Allison Shelley / The Verbatim Agency for American Education

1. Supporting Community-Driven Solutions to Achieve Equity and Improvement in Education

Rachel Lopkin | 2Revolutions


2. Redefining Professional Development: Educators as Leaders and Learners

Larry Corio | The Teachers Guild


3. To Improve the Lives of Students, Two Communities Learn to Relate Differently

David Garfunkel, Peter Senge and Jessica Pizarek | FSG, Systems Leadership Institute and PolicyLink


4. Helping Education Leaders Build Coherence into Reform Strategies to Support Teachers and Student Learning

Jenn Vranek and Cristina Muñoz | Education First


5. How Greater Continuity Can Help the Millions of Students Rotating Through Social Services

Hailly T.N. Korman | Bellwether Education Partners



Read an essay by one of the authors of the report, LaVerne Srinivasan, vice president of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s National Program and the Corporation’s program director for education.

To further the conversation, we invite you to share the report and the essays, and to contact the Corporation with your ideas and suggestions at education@carnegie.org.

What do fragmentation and coherence look like in education systems? The IDC produced a video to explain.