Education is not getting much attention on the presidential campaign trail, but that doesn’t mean the next administration won’t face a variety of opportunities and challenges in the education sector. In fact, the relative silence is misleading. Given the changes and competing pressures buffeting America’s education system, leaders in the Department of Education will have their hands full with vexing problems and new challenges. Improving access to early childhood education, expanding choice and school options for parents, addressing student loans and higher education accountability, making competitive grant programs more effective, tapping technological innovations to help students and teachers, and ensuring healthy food for kids in school are just a few of the issues policymakers will face.
Bellwether Education Partners has put together a volume containing 16 education policy ideas for the next president. This volume doesn’t presume to have answers to all problems or a monopoly on good ideas for education policy. But it does offer 16 innovative, provocative, and forward-looking policy ideas addressing different aspects of the education world from thinkers and doers with a range of backgrounds and experiences. To build it, Bellwether Education Partners convened experts, talked with teachers and leaders in the field, and listened to a variety of pitches.
A singular agenda wasn’t the point of this project. Instead of ideological homogeny, the volume brings together varying creative ideas for federal education policy. This diversity of thought means that at least some recommendations will appeal to the next administration regardless of who wins the election or leads the next president’s education efforts. The contributors are Democrats, Republicans, and political independents, and the ideas span the ideological spectrum. The authors are a blend of high-profile advocates and analysts, practitioners and policy wonks, education insiders and people whose work only tangentially touches education, and familiar voices along with fresh ones. What they share is a commitment to trying new things and making the education system more effective for the people it is designed to serve: students.
The resulting policy ideas cover parental empowerment, food and nutrition, human trafficking, early childhood education, career and technical education, school choice, alternative education, and much more.
To read the volume, see http://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/Bellwether_16for2016_Final%20%281%29_0.pdf