Harvard Selects Oakland for National Initiative

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OUSD News Release

February 23, 2016

Harvard Selects Oakland for National Initiative

OUSD and the City of Oakland join six communities across the country 

for this multi-year initiative to improve educational outcomes


The Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) announced today the selection of six cities, including Oakland, for a new multi-year initiative -- By All Means: Redesigning Education to Restore Opportunity -- aimed at developing comprehensive child well-being and education systems that help eliminate the link between children’s socioeconomic status and achievement. By All Means will be operated by HGSE’s Education Redesign Lab.  In addition to Oakland, other participating cities in the initiative include Louisville, KY; Providence, RI; Salem, MA; Somerville, MA; and Newton, MA.

“While our recent efforts at education reform have yielded some great successes in certain places, overall, we have failed to achieve equity, we have failed to eliminate persistent achievement and success gaps,” said Paul Reville, founding director of the Education Redesign Lab and former Massachusetts Secretary of Education. “Schools alone, as currently conceived, can’t do the job of educating all children for success. We can do better. By All Means will help light the way.” He explained that “Education reformers across the country set out decades ago to eliminate the correlation between zip code and educational success.  We’ve failed at that so far.  These courageous mayors and superintendents are now re-embracing the challenge and are willing to re-think their child well-being and education systems to achieve the goal of equity.”

The cities chosen to be part of the By All Means consortium demonstrate a distinguished record and a broad conception of their roles in ensuring children’s success. Working with the Education Redesign Lab, mayors of each city will create and lead “Children’s Cabinets” composed of superintendents, heads of health and social services, recreation, cultural and arts activists, and other key community leaders. Working together, these cabinet members will brainstorm and design new, effective strategies – aimed at closing persistent achievement and opportunity gaps -- for meeting all children’s needs in their communities.

Throughout the course of this multi-year initiative, a series of high-profile national meetings will connect entrepreneurial and committed city mayors, superintendents, and public officials directly with the expertise of Harvard faculty, design leaders, and influential policy, research and practice leaders in the movement to re-conceptualize 21st century education. The meetings will invigorate a national public dialogue about how to take the most promising school and community innovations to scale, and address potential challenges that arise.  

“By All Means is a bold, ambitious design project,” said HGSE Dean Jim Ryan, “that I believe will have a profound effect on the way we think about and provide education in the coming century. Addressing the persistent inequality in educational access and opportunity will take a comprehensive, strategic, and evidence-based approach, and I’m thrilled that Paul Reville is taking a leadership role in this work.”

“The City of Oakland is proud to be a By All Means: Redesigning Education to Restore Opportunity partner,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Harvard’s Graduate School of Education is offering an incredible opportunity for the City of Oakland and our partners from the school district to engage with like-minded leaders who are focused on producing real, impactful outcomes for our nation’s young people. I know this thought partnership will be invaluable as Oakland implements the Oakland Promise initiative -- its cradle to career effort to triple the number of our students who graduate college, giving them the skills and the hope to succeed in the careers of their choice.”

"Oakland Unified is forging partnerships to deliver on our mission and vision to build a full service community district where every student thrives. It is an honor to be part of this national cohort partnering with Harvard to learn lessons here that will benefit the city of Oakland and can help communities everywhere," said OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson. 

Launched in 2015, HGSE’s Education Redesign Lab’s mission is to design an integrated, comprehensive set of systems for education and child development that will ensure all students, especially economically disadvantaged, have a fair chance of mastering the skills and knowledge necessary for success. To achieve this, the Education Redesign Lab engages in research, field work, convening, and advocacy, and a national design process to support the development of this vision.

For more information, please note the following contact:

For Harvard:

Bridget Rodriguez, bridget_rodriguez@gse.harvard.edu, 617-495-6978.

twitter: @EdRedesignLab, #ByAllMeansHGSE

facebook: Education Redesign Lab

website: EdRedesign.org

For the City of Oakland: 

Ericka Terry Derryck, ederryck@oaklandnet.com; 510-435-4345.

For OUSD: 

Isaac Kos-Read, isaac.kos-read@ousd.org; 510-292-5715.