Education should inspire each person’s curiosity, creativity, and contribution to society. But for too many American K-12 students, the system is falling short of the mark.
The Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) has awarded a new two-year, $1 million grant to Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Education Policy for its Program on Educational Pluralism (PEP). The support will allow the institute to expand its research, thought leadership, and School Culture 360 survey, an instrument that provides school communities with insights to drive continuous improvement.
Led by Executive Director Dr. David Steiner and Director Dr. Ashley Berner, PEP explores how educators across the globe can provide a rich array of schooling options for primary- and secondary-school students. Its work helps U.S. communities support the culturally diverse educational needs of America’s young people.
Steiner and Berner start from the premise that there is no single way to teach a child. Then they surface high-impact models of schooling for communities to consider — based on scholarship, international partnerships with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Association of Education Law and Policy, policy discussions with states, and analysis of the civic outcomes associated with diverse school models. The solutions highlighted draw upon the pluralistic, civil-society model that has benefited public-school systems across the globe.
The solutions result in a “mosaic” of schools. In contrast, as Berner said in a 2018 Tedx talk, the United States has a “uniform school system” that dates back to the late 19th century and differs from the pluralistic model favored by most democracies.
“The scholars at JHU are working on new ideas that can lead to transformational experiences for the next generation of learners. Through rigorous research, they are discovering how communities can offer rich, varied educational options to their students,” said CKF Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “We know there is no single solution when it comes to providing learning opportunities for kids. There should be numerous options available and we are proud to continue our support of JHU’s efforts to highlight and promote models that value each child as an individual.”
The Charles Koch Foundation partners with social entrepreneurs to drive societal progress through academic research and innovations that help all learners realize their potential. Read more about the Foundation’s support for education.