Got A Great Idea?

One of the many interesting parts of my job is to hear from those of you who are out there in the field, especially about all the great work that’s being done in schools. From time to time, we get letters or inquiries from educators, researchers, and other education advocates, sharing with us some interesting curricula or special programs that have worked in their particular school or district. And specifically, they write to ask us, “How can this great idea or program proposal be implemented in schools across the country?

I’ll be the first to say that we are thrilled that so many Americans are passionate about improving public education and want to share their proposals with us. But as you know, education is primarily the responsibility of the State and local governments, and as such, the U.S. Department of Education is prohibited by law from endorsing or recommending particular programs or products to states.

So, as someone who is interested in improving education for all American students, you can do one of a few things. First, you can share your idea or program with your local education officials, whether they are school leaders, district administrators, or someone who works at the state level. Local and state officials can make decisions about programming in schools, so they would be the right point of contact if you are interested in getting your proposal implemented in schools.

The other option is to use something called the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), a tool created by the Department in order to provide educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public with information on what works in education. The WWC provides user-friendly practice guides for educators that address instructional challenges with research-based recommendations for schools and classrooms.  You can visit the WWC website and contact them for information on the possibility of including an evaluation your program on the site.

The Department also sponsors the Doing What Works website (DWW), with the goal of creating an online library of resources that may help teachers, schools, districts, states and technical assistance providers implement research-based instructional practice.  DWW provides examples of possible ways educators might apply the research findings of the WWC and the Department’s Institute of Education Sciences.

Finally, for those of you who have ideas for programs that may not necessarily be research-based,  you can use our Open Innovation Portal, which is an online portal to help create a community where educators, innovators, and other interested individuals can share ideas and best practices. In order to enter the site you will need to register.

Thanks for your dedication to public education, and please keep your ideas coming.