No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State

When the Programme for International Student Assessment reported in 2013 that students in the United States are not competing with students abroad, the National Conference of State Legislatures convened a bipartisan group of 28 veteran legislators and legislative staff, along with partners from the private sector, to study common education practices in the highest performing countries.

This paper draws on lessons learned from this study of international education systems and identifies strategies for state legislators and education leaders to turn around education in their own states. The report identifies four elements of a world-class education system:

  • Children come to school ready to learn;
  • Every student has access to highly effective teachers;
  • A highly effective, intellectually rigorous system of career and technical education is available to those preferring an applied education; and
  • Individual reforms are connected to a carefully designed system.
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August 2016