In a rapidly changing global economy, knowledge is the one currency that steadily increases in value. The United States—once an undisputed world leader in public education—now falls behind many other nations in average student achievement levels. We cannot rely on successes of the past; our education system must have a vigorous capacity for continuous improvement if we are to be a leader in the future.
Education reform efforts abound: policies regarding content and achievement standards, school size, teacher pay, financial incentive structures, and resource redistribution. Despite the potential importance of these pressures on the system exerted from the outside, the changes in everyday practice these policies intend to stimulate often fail to emerge. Continuous improvement in education practice must occur inside the school systems where teachers and students engage in the daily enterprise of teaching and learning. It requires that education become a practice that evolves as those who educate, those who prepare educators, those who study teaching and learning, and those who design the tools to support professional change, all engage systematically in an ongoing effort to get better at the enterprise of schooling. But we have not as a nation created the contexts for this kind of systematic collaboration. SERP’s goal is to do just that.
To accomplish its mission, SERP is establishing long-term partnerships with school districts through which we engage in collaborative, problem-solving research and development. Incubated at the National Research Council, the independent SERP Institute continues the NRC tradition of drawing on the nation’s leading scholars to solve critical educational problems of importance to the nation. The model is unique in several respects:
SERP’s ultimate goal is not its products or tools. Rather, we are building an institution committed to drawing the talent of our nation’s great universities and colleges into an ongoing collaboration with K-12 schools and school systems—a collaboration that focuses on continuously improving the education system that is so central to our success as a nation. We have only just begun.
Chair, SERP Board of Directors
President Emeritus, National Academy of Sciences
Former Editor-in-Chief, Science MagazineSuzanne DonovanExecutive Director, SERP
From the beginning, SERP has invited practitioners within schools to participate fully in the process of research and design.
Hear from SERP's pioneers about how they turned a recommendation from the National Academies into a pivotal organization leading change in the field of education.