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Topics / Improving Schools & Systems

Transforming Education into a Learning System

Perspectives and recommendations for action

Every day, educators, advocates, and families strive to ensure that our schools prepare all students to excel academically and thrive in life. To realize that ambitious goal, we must ensure that our education sector functions at all levels as a learning system. Too often, though, a culture of compliance and a desire to preserve the status quo take precedence over innovation and improvement, slowing the pace of progress.

In Transforming the Education Sector into a Learning System: Perspectives from the Field and RecommendationsCarnegie Corporation of New York and EducationCounsel address a critical question of how to accelerate a shift from our current educational system to a new learning system.

The ambitious vision for what is possible is outlined in the Executive Summary of the report, along with starting points for making this shift. Executing on these ideas will require comprehensive plans that, among other things, enumerate specific actions, clarify roles, and identify needed resources.

Apart from any specific course of action, the report seeks to begin the work of aligning four key drivers — human capacity, resources, leadership, and policy and incentives. The common objective is to understand what such a learning system should look and feel like, recognize the challenges and gaps in the current system, and take steps to advance the cause of a learning system that functions at all levels.


The report follows the publication of Transforming the Education Sector into a Learning System: Harnessing the Power of Continuous Improvement, Research & Development, and Data to Improve Outcomes for Each and Every Child in February 2019, which proposes a vision and framework for what conditions would be required to create a robust learning system in education, including research and development, continuous improvement, and data infrastructures.