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Want to remake assessment? Think disruptively.

The K–12 world is in the midst of another heated debate over testing. Last spring, states were given a reprieve from implementing federally-mandated standardized tests due to COVID. But this year, the Biden administration has instructed states to proceed with testing because policymakers need the data to identify inequity and direct resources accordingly.  In protest of the move, over 500 education researchers wrote to Secretary of...

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Not so fast: What Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill needs to be impactful

No, you’re not “hearing” double. President Joe Biden just unveiled another $2 trillion package to bolster the economy. This time, he’s focused on America’s infrastructure.  Biden’s infrastructure package is ambitious. Some of the highlights include $115 billion for roads and bridges; a $174 billion jolt to boost the electric vehicle (EV) market; $100 billion to expand high-speed broadband access; $100 billion to improve...

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Ready to level up? 3 innovation lessons from global superpower Nintendo

This piece was co-authored by Christimara Garcia, a volunteer at the Christensen Institute and founder of Catalyze Innovations Initiative, a Brazilian market-creating innovation action tank.  In his book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, David Epstein tells the story of how Nintendo became a global leader in the consumer electronics and video game industry. Founded in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi to make and...

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Your definition of quality isn’t mine: Why school districts don’t always choose curriculum that ‘experts’ think is best

In recent years, many have beaten the drum about the findings that rigorous curriculum can improve student outcomes—with gains that sometimes outpace those of other popular education reforms. But much to the frustration of education researchers, philanthropists, and others on the rigorous curriculum train, school districts sometimes don’t purchase and teachers sometimes don’t use curriculum that lines up with their view of what...

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To boost vaccination rates, think outside of the box

Good news is on the horizon. In a recent press conference, President Biden announced that there will be enough COVID vaccine supply for everyone in the US to receive at least their first dose by May. This came shortly after the FDA approval of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the only one available that requires one shot instead of two.  The US is making significant progress when it comes to vaccine distribution. But experts still...

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Too many schools have marshaled a “threat rigidity” response to COVID

In the wake of COVID-19 shattering the traditional routines and plans of so many schools nationwide, I have lamented that schools haven’t done nearly enough to create more compelling learning experiences for each student. Many schools have instead focused on logistics and operations—which are important given health concerns, but also insufficient. In too many cases, schools have sought to replicate the traditional classroom in a...

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A market-creation story: Drinkwell

During the last several decades, Bangladesh has suffered through one of the largest mass-poisonings in human history.  People began to recognize there was a problem when many Bangladeshis experienced breakouts of dark spots on their skin. It was initially thought to be an outbreak of leprosy until further examination revealed it was actually the result of poisoning. Over the course of several decades, experts had encouraged people to...

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Visualizing the future of social determinants care

It’s become increasingly clear that social conditions—things like literacy, housing, and food security—have a significant impact on one’s health. Known as the social determinants of health, many healthcare providers are wisely taking steps to address them. Yet as we explained in our last blog post, how providers incorporate these activities is critical. Because the best practices for addressing them are not yet understood,...

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3 Ideas to Help Teachers Thrive This Year

As a former middle school math teacher and now father of three young children, I know this has probably been the most challenging school year in history. The world is still far from getting back to normal. In the second half of the pandemic school year, how should teachers move forward? Last fall, a national survey project collected data from K–12 teachers as well as school and district administrators to gauge what instruction looks...

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When a light bulb is more than just a light bulb; the power of market-creating innovation

After famed American inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Edison invented the practical incandescent light bulb, he realized that the invention alone would not be enough to bring light to millions of homes. For that to happen, he needed to develop the underlying infrastructure on which the light bulb would run. This “infrastructure” included electric generators, substations, transmission lines, and a company to sell this new invention....

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Community colleges don’t get great outcomes today; Here are 3 clarifying steps they can take to change that.

With the ascendancy of Dr. Jill Biden to America’s First Lady, the policy spotlight is turning once again to community colleges. I’ve written before about why most community colleges are structurally unable to deliver reliably on the three missions with which they are tasked—academic transfer, career preparedness and training, and community enrichment—and why simply showering them with resources to bolster college transfer or...