Our national challenge is to create a 21st century PreK-12 education system that helps children become thriving adults. Despite a multitude of initiatives and huge public and private investments, the U.S. school system fails to meet the needs of far too many children. This failure comes at a high cost to our economic productivity and competitiveness, to our social service and correction systems and, ultimately, to the health and well-being of our people and democratic society.
The world has changed dramatically since our public education system emerged in the 19th century to meet the needs of an agrarian and newly industrialized country. Our schools must reflect this change; yet our nation remains divided on how to do so.
Convergence is organizing a sustained dialogue that seeks to reconcile the underlying interests of key education stakeholders and create agreements that foster a shared, fundamental shift in how we approach PK-12 education. The goal is to create systemic and sustainable solutions to urgent challenges facing PK-12 education in the U.S.
Some key issues that beg for cross-communication and can drive a new vision for our education system include:
Great leadership: How do we find, grow, and reward great education leaders? How do we adequately measure and promote their success?
Effective teachers: How do we attract the most talented teachers? How do we support their continuing development, bring out their highest and best contribution, and fairly measure their performance to ensure accountability?
A collaborative school culture: What are the models for a sustainable approach to synergy among principals, teachers, parents and the larger school community? How do we create a culture that harvests children’s intrinsic motivation to learn? How can the culture of schools prepare children to meet life’s challenges and contribute to the well-being of our nation?
Using new tools: How can we use technology to create a robust, exciting learning environment that recognizes and meets the individual learning needs of each child, and helps him/her successfully engage in our global, interactive world? How can technology be used to create a more supportive, collaborative environment for teachers? How do we prepare teachers to effectively integrate changing technologies in the classroom?