Few names are as respected in learning science research as long-time Stanford University professor, Linda Darling-Hammond. And so it is something of head-slapping "Gosh, hadn't that happened before?" moment to learn that she's set up a national education think tank to do high quality research on equitable learning practices.
The nonprofit Learning Policy Institute will focus on pre-K through high school education and aim to drive policy conversation with evidence and deep research. Initial funding for the organization is coming from some notable organizations: The Atlantic Philanthropies, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Sandler Foundation and the Stuart Foundation. (Among the equally notable names missing--at least for now--from the list are the Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Broad Foundation.)
The organization has already put together an impressive team of researchers and policy analysts, including several former SRI Education researchers. The team plans to marshal and disseminate research and evidence, convene meetings and support networking.
"We believe that learning opportunities for children, educators, and schools need to evolve to meet the demands of today's society, and that education systems must evolve to meet those needs," Darling-Hammond wrote in this post. "It's become clear to many that fighting old, divisive battles over last century's educational models won't prepare our children for the new world they face."
One more way the Darling-Hammond clan is contributing to education: Her son, Sean Darling-Hammond, just finished his rookie season on America Ninja Warrior. Nicknamed "the Giving Ninja," this Ivy League trained attorney-turned Ninja has a great motto: "True strength is not simply conquering obstacles; it is helping others overcome them." He plans to donate Ninja prize money to education organizations. Go, Sean!