remove barriers to learning. They must also be equippedwith the tools of learning, including technology, textbooks,and other instructional materials that are up to date and tiedto desired outcomes.Good schools have a positive culture for learning, with highstandards and high expectations for achievement; they arelaunch pads for postsecondary success, preparing allstudents to continue education and training in order toachieve career success and meet workforce demands.Good schools
often in collaboration with communitypartners
coordinate services and build systems designed toremove barriers to learning. Reforms must both address theneeds of students at highest risk (including the specificeffects of poverty on student learning) and penetrate thewhole school, creating an environment that fosters student achievement.Good schools have principals who are strong leaders, able toattract, retain, and support a motivated instructional team,build a strong positive culture, use data to inform every daydecision making, and engage families and communities toassemble the comprehensive resources and services that children need to be engaged learners. Often these resourcescome from nonprofit partners who augment and leveragethe human, financial, and knowledge resources that areavailable from public sources.Over the last several decades, different theories of changehave influenced federal education policy. Some havesuggested that if only more financial resources wereavailable
if teachers were better paid or classes smaller
results would follow. If we started earlier, with high qualityearly childhood education, all children could succeed. If parents had school choices and competition played a role inresource allocation, schools would improve. If we addressednon-academic barriers to learning, children would thrive. Orif we set high standards with teeth, schools would get better.On their own, none of these theories have proven sufficient.But they each hold a part of the solution. Financial resourcescan make a difference, but only if they are well spent. Earlychildhood education is important, especially for low-income
children, but its promise won’t be realized if it is followed by
poor quality elementary and secondary schools. Addressingnon-academic barriers to learning is critical, but cannot
Founded in 1997 with General Colin
Powell as Chairman, America’s
Promise Alliance is a cross-sectorpartnership of more than 400 nationalorganizations from the private,nonprofit and public sectors and 100state and community networks. TheAlliance is dedicated to providing allchildren, especially the most vulnerable, with the fundamentalresources they need to succeed. It calls these the Five Promises: caringadults, safe places, a healthy start, aneffective education and opportunitiesto help others.
top priority is ending the dropout crisis in America through its GradNation campaign, a ten yearcommitment to mobilize communitiesto bring the needed support tostudents who attend the lowest performing high schools and theirfeeder schools.
AppleTree Institute for EducationInnovation
AppleTree Institute for Education isdedicated to closing the achievement
gap before kindergarten. AppleTree’s
network of high-performingpreschools in D.C. has charted vastlyimproved outcomes for vulnerablechildren, far outpacing Head Start programs and other leading Pre-Kprograms nationally. Its
gain an average of 18 standard pointsin two years on the Peabody PictureVocabulary Test, where a gain of fourpoints is considered significant.
AppleTree’s successes earned an
Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)
grant in 2010 to develop “Every ChildReady” into a full instructional
program with tools, technology,training, assessment and professionaldevelopment so that it can beeffectively replicated at scale.