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  • Writer's pictureThe Alliance for Learning Innovation

The Alliance for Learning Innovation Releases New Task Force Recommendations




Strengthening America's global competitiveness, meeting ever-changing workforce demands, and addressing the ongoing recovery of schools from COVID disruptions have underscored the urgent need for an education system that supports all students. 


We must buttress our current education improvement efforts with a larger and stronger education research and development (R&D) ecosystem that grows the evidence base of what works, for whom, and under what conditions and spurs innovations in educational practices and tools that can immediately impact learner outcomes. To better understand the state of affairs in education R&D and chart a path forward, ALI convened three diverse, bipartisan task forces to dig into three urgent priorities:


  • Strengthening state and local education R&D infrastructure

  • Making the education R&D ecosystem more inclusive 

  • Expanding and strengthening the role in education R&D of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) 


Each task force produced a policy brief outlining recommendations for their priority area. The briefs are published in full on ALI’s Task Forces webpage.


Strengthening State and Local Education R&D Infrastructure


Over 90 percent of K12 education funding comes from state and local sources, and innovation, decision-making, and program implementation mostly occur at the local level. For R&D to be more effective, it must be more proximate to the educators, students, families, and communities it seeks to support, and it must be supported by more capacity and stronger infrastructure. With a more robust R&D ecosystem in place, state and local education systems can engage in the kind of evidence-driven continuous improvement that will help them make more effective and efficient use of public resources to help each student thrive. Read more here.


Making the Education R&D Ecosystem More Inclusive


Even when R&D priorities and the field’s needs are aligned, a lack of ongoing and authentic engagement by diverse researchers and with communities in the R&D process creates a “last mile” gap that often blunts the impact high-quality R&D can have on student outcomes. More inclusive approaches empower practitioners, students, and communities to engage in R&D, build knowledge about relevant R&D outputs, generate greater buy-in from learners, communities, and practitioners, and open more effective channels for knowledge mobilization and scale. Read more here.


Expanding and Strengthening the Role in Education R&D of HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs


According to a 2019 report by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, HBCUs received just 3 percent of federal research funding for education in 2017, with MSIs receiving only 5 percent. For education R&D to be more effective and more responsive to the needs of the most disadvantaged learners, educators, and communities, we must expand education R&D funding and opportunities to a broader array of institutions and individuals, especially HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs. These institutions can also help grow and sustain a more diverse pipeline of R&D professionals, and they can ensure a broader range of communities’ assets, needs, expertise, and perspectives are included in the process. Read more here.


Tell Us What You Think

If you are interested in providing feedback on the ideas in these briefs, engaging in the work ahead, or sharing aligned work already underway, please contact Sara Schapiro at sschapiro@fas.org. We look forward to learning from you!


This post was written by Dan Gordon, Bethany Little, Erin Mote, and Sara Schapiro

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