Schools throughout the country will soon begin to implement the Common Core State Standards and adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. These new standards, which are "fewer, clearer, and higher" than existing state standards, are designed to provide all young people with the knowledge and skills they need for success in a global economy.
Though they are a powerful tool for improving our educational system, standards alone cannot deliver widespread, meaningful change. To bring all students to much higher levels of achievement and to help underprepared students catch up to meet the standards' new demands, we must "do school differently." This means redesigning how schools use teaching, time, technology, and money to create opportunities for more young people to succeed. And, it means replacing existing one-size-fits-all approaches with rigorous, personalized learning that creates multiple opportunities for students to be successful.
Individual interventions are important, yet by themselves, they are not likely to produce sufficiently strong outcomes to help all students meet the demands of the new standards. Instead of retooling individual elements such as teacher preparation, learning time, or technology in isolation, all the elements that we know work and some emerging tools must be integrated into comprehensive school designs that will truly meet the needs of every student.
- Successful Strategy: By closing 20 high schools and opening 200 new ones designed according to research-based principles through a competitive proposal process, New York City's "small schools of choice" increased four-year graduation rates for disadvantaged student populations by 8.6 percentage points.
- Observation: To prepare students for postsecondary education, American high schools must simultaneously accelerate all students' learning to higher levels and use recuperative strategies to help underprepared students catch up.
- Observation: Redesigning schools requires fundamentally reshaping the use of human capacity, technology, time, and money.
- Observation: Carnegie Corporation of New York has seeded the launch of a new national school design institute, Springpoint, which will support selected districts to plan and launch new schools based on 10 design principles, with funding from the Corporation, over the next three years.