Two young boys with pencils and laptops are smiling and a logo for The Learning Accelerator is in the top corner

Colleagues and friends, 

It’s no surprise to those who know me that I’m a bit of a… well… nerd. I’m an avid reader of management and systems sciences. Russell Ackoff offered a terrific metaphor that I come back to often in our work: as change leaders, we have to know when we’re confronting a problem versus a mess, which is a system of interacting, interconnected problems. A problem can be solved with a solution; a mess demands a systemic approach.

As I make sense of the priorities emerging for education improvement and reform, such as those recently laid out by the federal administration, I have to wonder if we are continuing to think we are facing a problem rather than a mess demanding holistic innovation. No amount of change around kids’ core experiences in school – be it in the form of additional tutoring, mentors, or summer and after-school programming – can sufficiently address the urgent need to change what happens at the center of kids’ and educators’ days. It’s time to invest in approaches that do that.

Three people hold white puzzle pieces together to solve the puzzle

Early next month, we’ll be announcing a large initiative led by The Learning Accelerator to tackle the mess. We’ll be advancing the adoption of innovative, gap-closing approaches that make real, durable changes to how students and teachers work together during their school days, supported by new tools. Stay tuned for more details on funding and evidence-creation opportunities for network leaders.

To close, you can’t resolve a mess by making it tidy – you have to recognize its causes and have a vision for broader change. Conversely, you can’t resolve a mess simply by visualizing a less messy future or by walking away from the mess. You’ve got to start concretely somewhere, with many hands. I’m excited to join you as we tackle the mess together.

Yours in partnership, 

Beth Rabbitt, Chief Executive Officer (she/her)

Featured Updates

Join the TLA Team: Partner, Research and Measurement

We are searching for an experienced, mixed-methods researcher eager to join our Research and Measurement team as a Partner. This person will work under the leadership of TLA’s R&M team leader, alongside TLA’s Programs team, and with a variety of external organizations to design and implement equity-centered approaches to measurement, build external and internal research capacity, develop and disseminate openly licensed resources for the field, and contribute to TLA’s broader thought leadership efforts. 

Attending SXSW EDU? Connect with Beth Rabbitt

Don't miss our session at SXSW EDU banner

Real Talk: Are K-12 Nonprofits and EdTech Driving Inequity? Join Beth Rabbitt (TLA) and Leona Christy (Catalyst:Ed) for a vibrant (dare-say-we radical?) communal conversation at SXSW EDU. From 4-5 p.m. CT on Monday, March 4, listen to two veteran nonprofit CEOs dive into a lively discussion of how education nonprofits and edtech companies can work in better ways to tackle challenges of equity and create a more vibrant collective impact community. 

Supporting Students with SEL Strategies

With spring break and assessment season approaching, TLA Partner Ashley Fellows shares some quick SEL strategies for educators to support their students in TLA's latest blog post.  

Discover more strategies for incorporating SEL in your classroom here. 

A male teacher leans over a desk and engages with two young students work
Beth Holland and Susan Bearden stand in front of an American flag at the White House

TLA Partner Dr. Beth Holland participated in a panel at the White House in January to speak about the launch of the new National Educational Technology Plan (NETP). She was joined by other members of the NETP Technical Working Group, including Susan Bearden, who co-led the development and writing of the plan.

Read more about the NETP here.

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