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Thinking Forward: New Ideas for a New Era of Public Education

A collection of essays celebrating CRPE’s 25th anniversary
Robin Lake, Editor

Marking CRPE’s 25th anniversary, this volume of essays rethinks foundational aspects of the current education system, from funding to accountability to equity, with an eye toward preparing every student for the future. The goal is not to propose what the education system of the future ought to look like, but to reexamine past assumptions, look for gaps in existing education policies and reforms, and offer provocative new ideas to address them.

These essays consider ways to unbundle learning. But they also focus on the rebundling, elevating concerns about social mobility, opportunity for the disadvantaged, educational coherence, and safeguards for the public interest that have always been a part of the unique lens through which CRPE views the future of public education.

Many questions—and potential risks—exist in even a gradual transition to more agile, student-centered learning systems. Yet, fundamentally rigid and inequitable structures prevent the current system from doing what is necessary to meet the needs of all students. Stagnant debates over issues that have long been the focus of education reformers—funding, parental choice, school accountability—demand an injection of fresh thinking that can awaken new political coalitions and bridge long-standing divides.

The ideas presented here are intended to provoke discussion and debate, not provide all the answers. These are difficult, debatable challenges and will require all of us to untether ourselves from past orthodoxies and push each other’s thinking. In the end, however, there is real urgency for beginning to try new approaches, test their efficacy, and build coalitions to create widespread change. Our hope is that these essays help launch the work ahead.


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