Promises for a Remarkable Year Ahead: January 2024 Carnegie Foundation Newsletter

Below is Carnegie President Timothy Knowles’s opening to our January 2024 newsletter. Join our mailing list for additional resources and recommended reads.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Happy New Year! I hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful holiday, stayed healthy, and are ready to make 2024 powerful beyond measure for students in your midst.

At Carnegie, we believe that to catalyze at scale, we must start small, plan carefully, acknowledge (even celebrate) mistakes, pay close attention to evidence, and work in partnership to achieve broad impact. This ethos has been true from the very start of the Foundation’s history— and more recently, with the Carnegie Math Pathways project established at WestEd, the newly launched National Center for School-University Partnerships at the University of Mississippi, and our partnerships with the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

In essence, at Carnegie, we work with extraordinary scholars, practitioners and policymakers to incubate new ideas, test them carefully in a range of contexts, and collaborate across sectors, to bring the most promising ideas to life at broad scale. 

It is with this rich tradition and spirit that we are excited to launch a new Carnegie incubation in partnership with the XQ InstituteHigh School Learning Zones. This work will establish existence proofs of transformative high school learning that are competency (not time) based and are integrated into a broad range of community contexts.

To begin this work, we have established a Learning Zone R&D network with partners in Arizona, Indiana, and New Mexico, spanning rural, urban, and suburban America. Each of the initial R&D members is dedicated to building innovative high school learning designs that illustrate alternatives to traditional time-based models of schooling, shifting how time is used, where learning takes place, and how it is measured and credited. The group will convene to learn with and from one another about various competency-based learning strategies and approaches, and we will consider how we might establish a broad national network of states, systems, and community-based actors working to create ‘post Carnegie Unit’ educational ecosystems. We are starting small, intentionally. But our aims are ambitious. Just as the Carnegie Unit swept the nation in 1906 (and has now infiltrated nearly every aspect of schooling, K12, and postsecondary), we expect these Learning Zones and the accompanying national network, will be an important part of a growing movement to establish a new currency for learning, one rooted around the skills and competencies we know young people need to succeed in postsecondary school, work, and life.  

We look forward to working with you in the pursuit of just, joyful, and transformative educational opportunities for young people across our nation and the world.

In partnership,
Timothy Knowles
President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

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