US Education Policy

Opportunity to Learn, Responsibility to Lead

September 14, 2022  • Education and Society Program

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While education policy becomes increasingly polarized, our students and our public education system are facing some of the greatest challenges of a generation. We are witnessing historic declines in student achievement and mental health, polarizing culture wars, plummeting public confidence, and a policy framework that no longer holds the political middle.

In 2022, a bipartisan and diverse group of state policymakers – state legislators, state commissioners of education, state board members, and governors’ policy advisors – came together under the auspices of the Aspen Institute to reflect on their visions and values, examine research evidence, and articulate what ought to be true regarding student opportunities in our public schools. 

The product of that work is Opportunity to Learn, Responsibility to Lead — a set of principles to undergird a new, positive, bipartisan agenda for improving public education. These principles cover essential elements of the student experience, the learning conditions schools are responsible for, and the unique role of state leadership in making opportunities real.

This is the kind of solutions-driven leadership America is starving for, and nowhere is it more important than on improving public education and advancing an opportunity agenda for all students.