At Public Agenda, we are focusing a lot of our energy these days on two intertwined themes that we call Renewing Democracy and Reinventing Opportunity. The first focuses on creating the conditions for wiser public judgment and more meaningful public participation in public life; the second on strengthening the impacts of initiatives that expand economic opportunity and security.
There are many challenges packed within these twin themes, from the profound mistrust undermining the relationship between communities and institutions, to the disappearance of middle class jobs, to increasingly unaffordable health care and housing. But, if there’s one issue that speaks most powerfully to both dimensions of the opportunity and democracy challenge, it is public education. And we’re doing all we can to help ensure that every American can gain the education they need to succeed and contribute within our economic and civic life.
To that end, you’ll soon see some of the projects we’ve been working on come to fruition. You’ll hear from “new traditional students” in videos we’ll release in the next few days on social media which tell their stories of pursuing college later in life. This is part of a project to understand how the public views issues in higher education and, specifically, some of the obstacles that adults who are looking to go to or return to college face. We’ll release a full report on research with this group in the fall.
Next month, in partnership with the Spencer Foundation, we’ll introduce new resources designed to enhance collaboration among teachers with the end goal of greater student achievement. Meanwhile, we continue our ongoing work in support of community college student success, better transfer policies in states across the country, competency-based education reform, and numerous initiatives to improve community engagement in K-12 and higher education.
We encourage you to share the following resources with practitioners in the field of education and anyone who wishes to learn more about what can be done to strengthen opportunity and democracy through improvements to our K-12 and higher education systems.