Students today are no longer just competing for jobs with students from the next town over. They’re competing for jobs of the future with students around the world. Much of the American labor force is now uncompetitive on the global labor market. Top-performing systems are outperforming U.S. districts in student learning and equity and they are yielding these results at a lower cost. Our students and our future economy will bear the consequences of failure to rapidly improve student achievement today.
What is at Stake?
The U.S. led the world in education between the middle of the nineteenth century and the 1970s. But now U.S. students are struggling and are unprepared with the same set of skills that once ensured success. We now face the challenge of producing graduates who are educated to a high, internationally benchmarked standard.
For many state and local education systems in the United States, nothing short of rethinking their entire education system will produce the required levels of high achievement for all students. Over 30 years of research into top-performing countries by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), NISL’s parent organization, confirm that district leaders are essential drivers of the organizational and operational changes that U.S. schools must pursue.
Districts must redesign their systems so that their students may compete in today’s changing global economy. To do this, districts must:
- Have a team of leaders across the district who have not only “bought in” to a vision for the district but who have a voice in forming that vision,
- Provide an authentic shared learning experience among the district leadership team that allows them to view their persistent challenges through a new set of lenses to yield new insights and novel strategies, and
- Perform an informed, deep analysis by the leadership team of their own relevant context to develop the appropriate strategies to achieve their jointly-created vision.
To face this challenge, NISL has developed a set of district offerings that provide district leadership teams with the knowledge, skills, tools and support necessary to ensure that their leaders understand what makes a successful system, can craft a vision for their district that has their students competing with the world’s best and have the leadership skills to redesign their district to achieve that vision.