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When the world’s biggest and most successful industrial organizations want to develop and implement comprehensive plans that will help them respond to fundamental changes in their environment, they turn to the world’s best consulting companies. Those companies excel in their analysis of the business environment and in their research into the kinds of responses that are most likely to enable the firms to adapt to those changes effectively. That research is based on close studies of the firms that have proved most successful in adapting to the changes the firms are observing. NCEE’s consulting group has been created to provide exactly that kind of service to states and large school districts in the United States.

The aim in every case is the same: To enable the state or school district to reach global performance benchmarks. The process will be similar in outline, but different in all the details. The aim is to get strong, broad-based backing from top leaders for a comprehensive effort to set global benchmarks and to develop an equally comprehensive plan to meet those benchmarks. We do not believe that any state or big city school system should copy another. But they need to be informed by what the leaders of other systems are doing and how they are doing it.

Our process involves comparing the state or district to the top nations, states, and provinces in the world on each of the 9 Building Blocks, so that state and district leaders can see where they are doing well and where they have a distance to go. It involves pulling together a group of state leaders to actually go and visit two or three of the leading countries, talk to many people there at all levels of the system, and see for themselves what can happen if a concerted effort is made and sustained over a long enough period of time to make a difference, and then helping that group help others understand what they have seen and work with a broad group of stakeholders to come up with a long-range plan to build a comprehensive system of the kind that they have seen.

To assist in this consulting service, NCEE will enlist top researchers, analysts, policymakers, and practitioners all over the world who are prepared to help us help states and districts that are interested in building world-class systems of education. And there are other organizations, governmental, intergovernmental, and private, that are also willing and able to bring important assistance to the table as well.

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