Leading the Way Towards a Stronger New England

October 21, 2015

An announcement from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation is embarking on an ambitious new agenda, one that builds on our position as a promoter of equity and excellence in public education in New England and our recognition that bolder action is required to ensure that all of our young people can fully participate in our region’s economic and civic landscape.

Today, a high school diploma is simply no longer sufficient. The chances of being ready to succeed in some form of post-secondary education are too low for all students and slimmest for the state’s most underserved populations, including immigrants, youth from low-income families and children of color. Given the urgency of the need, the Foundation has set into motion a plan that aims to reach an aggressive benchmark: at least 80% college and career readiness for all New England students by 2030. Over the next five years, Nellie Mae will increase its capacity and rapidly accelerate its work to meet this ambitious target, with the ultimate goal of universal college and career readiness for all New Englanders. The Foundation is investing $200 million dollars, a 60% increase above its current policy allowances, to dramatically improve educational results for New England’s learners and communities.

In recent years, the Foundation has invested in identifying and spreading methods that help students master strong academic standards at the same time that they develop higher-order skills and dispositions that research links to success in college and careers, a group of instructional approaches that we call student-centered learning. A growing body of research suggests that student-centered approaches—those that meet each learner where she is, differentiate to help each learner achieve mastery, use time and place flexibly, and attend to student ownership of the learning process—can maximize learning outcomes for all students and especially those historically underserved.

While we’ve helped generate significant traction for student-centered learning already and see great potential for student-centered learning to hit its stride in the years ahead, we’ve yet to see the methods adopted at scale. Additionally, student-centered learning approaches are not as comprehensive as we envision. We have come to recognize that we won’t see full-fledged adoption of student-centered learning until we focus more squarely on the systemic challenges that inhibit its uptake and effective implementation. You can learn more by reading Leading the Way Toward a More Prosperous, Equitable New England.

We look forward to working together to pave the way for a more equitable, prosperous, and engaged New England for many generations to come.

-The Nellie Mae Education Foundation

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