Strategy Overview

Strategy Overview


Our vision

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.

Our history

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.

  • Focus on areas that are fundamental to the core capacity of the educational system, not the pursuit of discrete solutions or scaling “what works”
  • Prioritize a vision of an equitable educational system, one that meets the diverse needs of all learners
  • Advance a broad definition of student success, including the range of knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for success in education, work, and adult life
  • Seek to ensure that change and innovation are fully informed by people-centered stakeholder engagement and that the voices of teachers, students, and families are heard
  • Foster integration, learning, and innovation across the field

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: 

  • Learning experiences and opportunities that meet the diverse needs of all students and prepare them for future success in college, careers, democratic participation, and life
  • Leaders and teachers who are well prepared to advance student learning, and schools and systems that are organized to enable the success of leaders and teachers
  • Authentic demand from families, communities, and educators for learning that meets the diverse learning needs of all students, supported by clear and transparent data and information
  • Postsecondary innovations that address the challenges facing underrepresented students, particularly first-generation college-goers, and better prepare all students for further STEM learning and careers
  • Integrated strategies and approaches that enable the educational system to realize an expanded vision of success for all American students  

Our portfolios

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.