New Think Tank to Focus on Learning, Education Policy

With its founding president asserting that "[we've] arrived at a new moment for public education in America," a new national education think tank in the Bay Area hopes to bridge the world of research and policy making to inform evidence-based education policies at the federal, state, and local levels.

Headquartered in Palo Alto, the Learning Policy Institute will be led by researcher and policy expert Linda Darling-Hammond, with Patrick M. Shields, who previously created and built the education research function at SRI International, serving as executive director. Members of the institute's board include Sandler Foundation trustee Susan Sandler, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and University of California, Berkeley professor Kris D. Gutiérrez.

According to EdSource, the institute, which has received initial funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr., Ford, Hewlett, Sandler, and Stuart foundations, will work to highlight the design of education systems that prepare students for a knowledge-based world economy; identify early education programs that produce strong outcomes; generate and disseminate research on how to attract, train, and retain the next generation of teachers; and shape an equity agenda to address the high rates of child poverty and homelessness, as well as unequal school funding and staffing, in the U.S. compared to other industrialized nations.

"All children need to be able to inquire deeply, think critically, communicate, and collaborate to solve challenging problems," said Darling-Hammond. "Fortunately, we have growing knowledge about how to create learning environments that can accomplish these goals. The Learning Policy Institute will focus on turning that knowledge into action to promote policies that enable each and every child to learn, think, and thrive."