The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) is the leading U.S. organization studying high-performing education systems and their implications for dramatically improving American education. NCEE’s Blueprint for a High-Performing Education System (the NCEE Blueprint) distills our accumulated insights of more than 30 years of studying and benchmarking the world’s leading systems. The document organizes what we have learned and continue to learn from high-performing countries, provinces, states, districts, and schools about the ways they design their education systems to ensure that all students achieve at high levels.
The NCEE Blueprint offers a design that states or districts that want to match or exceed the performance of the world’s highest-performing systems can use as the conceptual framework for redesigning their own system. Simply adding discrete elements of this design to current systems is not sufficient. The elements must be implemented with an eye to how each connects with the others and fits together as a mutually supportive whole. It is the overall system design — adapted to the context of each specific education system — that must be constructed by the leaders with input from the entire community. State and/or district leaders must formulate how best to design each element, in concert with the other elements, to create a system in which each of these elements mutually reinforce each other to produce dramatically improved student learning at scale.
We encourage all educators and education policymakers to read and reflect on this document and to apply the learnings to their work. As you do, you will not be alone. In addition to our Center on International Education Benchmarking, whose research informs this document, NCEE is supporting a network of state, district and school leaders in tailoring and implementing the NCEE Blueprint through The Center on Policy Solutions and The Center on System Leadership.