Called Rethink Learning Now, this group of philanthropic organizations, civil rights groups, and education groups supports three pillars of education reform: “learning,” teaching,” and “fairness.” It envisions a policy agenda for education that is based on promoting high-quality learning conditions and effective teaching, and equal opportunities for all kids to have a great education.
It has a bunch of rather sensational public service announcements up on its Web site (grade school kids in orange jail jumpers and an NFL-like draft for teacher recruiting, for instance).
You will not, I expect, be surprised to learn that this coalition already features a testimonial from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Duncan, famously, was a signer of both the EEP and BB manifestos before winning the top ED job.
The group plans to add a variety of other testimonials about what makes for a conducive environment for teaching and learning and then plans to cull common features from those testimonials.
All that said and done, this coalition’s thrust sounds decidedly more in line with the BB group, which has been critical of the role of standardized testing in today’s climate, than that of the EEP group. Witness lines like this on the Rethink Learning Now Web site: “We can end the nationwide culture of testing, and create a national culture of learning instead.” Or, “Good teaching is about more than preparing students to take a test.”
Partners now include the NAACP, the Forum for Education and Democracy, and the Public Education Network.
There isn’t a lot of information about where the financial backing for all this is coming from (those PSAs do not look cheap), but a spokeswoman for the group told me that this is a Ford Foundation-sponsored effort.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.