From Fragmentation to Coherence

Fragmentation in education limits our ability to provide students with what they need to succeed.

Students lose out when the adults in their lives get pulled in different directions. They lose out when their teachers teach one way to deliver a curriculum, and another to prepare them for standardized tests. They lose out when what they learn in one grade doesn’t prepare them for the next. Students also lose out when principals must focus on paperwork and not on improving instruction.

What can we do to address this complex and widespread problem? To answer that question, Carnegie Corporation of New York commissioned a report, From Fragmentation to Coherence: How more integrative ways of working could accelerate improvement and progress toward equity in education. This resource offers practical insights into the causes, consequences, and potential remedies of fragmentation.

The report offers three principles for working integratively, including the following:

  1. Build a shared understanding of purpose.  Instead of assuming everyone is on the same page, deliberate attempts must be made to forge a shared understanding about what students need most from their time in our education system.
  2. Understand the circumstances of the various actors involved. Strategies for achieving equity should be informed through the engagement of people with diverse perspectives.
  3. Incorporate repeated adjustments based on experience. An integrated strategy is the result of multiple iterations and trials, each carried out with an eye toward understanding the experience of the individuals involved.

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