International Report Confirms What We Know
Teachers Need To Be at the Center


Education reports from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) help us see where the performance of U.S. students stacks up against that of other developed nations. In its latest release, OECD focuses on reforms aimed at improving that performance.

Education Policy Outlook 2015: Making Reforms Happen identifies current trends in efforts to improve education systems and the factors that will help those reforms succeed. The greatest share of reforms examined—29 percent—aim to “prepare students for the future,” according to OECD. These include changes that better prepare students for a job or to enter higher education. Twenty-four percent of the reforms fall into the school improvement category, 16 percent focus on quality and equity issues, 14 percent are in the evaluation and assessment area, 12 percent relate to funding, and finally, 9 percent deal with governance.

The 316-page report gives detailed examples of initiatives being implemented in the 34 OECD countries, but I agree with this post in Forbes from Nick Morrison, who says an important take away from the document is that without teachers’ support and involvement, reforms—particularly those focused on teaching and learning—are unlikely to stick.

“For improvement efforts to be successful and for teachers to put in the extra effort, teachers need to believe in the effectiveness of the programme,” OECD says. But possibly more important than agreeing with the changes being made is teachers’ role in actually driving the change.

The report talks about teachers having a “sense of ownership” and points to studies showing that “active participation by teachers has a positive influence on teacher commitment, the pace of change and the extent of implementation.”

We found this to be true with our Literacy Design and Math Design Collaboratives as well as our Innovative Professional Development work. Teachers at the center of the design always make a big difference.

 – C.