For U.S. students to be fully engaged participants in a robust democracy and an ever-evolving global economy, they need to attain deep academic content knowledge within and across the core academic areas and develop a broad range of essential skills and capacities, including the academic perseverance, mindsets, learning strategies, and social skills that lead to college graduation and long-term life success.
To attain that expansive definition of student success, all young people, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic background, or place of residence, must experience K-12 and postsecondary learning opportunities that are coherent, rigorous, and relevant, under circumstances where their learning and growth are well supported.
The Corporation’s long-standing concern for the quality of American schools and colleges is rooted in our belief in the importance of equitable educational opportunity, social mobility, and the “advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding” for a vibrant democracy. From our crucial, founding support for Sesame Street in the 1960s, to the influential 1989 Turning Points report on the learning needs of young adolescents, to the 2009 call to improve STEM education in TheOpportunity Equation, the Corporation has been at the forefront of efforts to expand learning opportunities for children and young people.
Our guiding principles
Drawing on our growing understanding of how best to advance deep, challenging, relevant learning experiences that equitably prepare all students for productive futures, we have established five core principles to guide our future work.
Our areas of focus
To unlock our vision of success, at scale, for all American students, the Corporation focuses strategically on transforming five core components of the educational system:
We organize our work within five portfolios, each with a distinct emphasis but all designed to engender cross-cutting innovation, collaboration, and awareness:
These five areas represent, individually and severally, the core components and capacities of the U.S. educational system: the school and institutional models, both K-12 and postsecondary, through which young people are educated; the professionals who are the system’s most important resource; the relationship between educational institutions and the students, families, and public who rely on them; and the ability of the system to improve in response to evidence and new knowledge. Together, they make up the “infrastructure” of U.S. public education and our society’s commitment to prepare the next generation of young people for productive, fulfilling lives.
Improvements within each of these areas will have a profound impact on the overall performance of U.S. education and its ongoing ability to improve continuously in the years ahead. Improvements that are strategically aligned across these areas will have even greater and more lasting effects. These areas, and the interdependencies among them, are the crucial ones for delivering on a more ambitious and expansive definition of student success, responding to the diversity of student need, and achieving the promise of educational equity. Advances in these core areas are also essential for restoring public confidence in the ability of our education system to respond effectively to the demands and challenges of today’s world.