Press Releases

Maryland, Ohio, and Rhode Island Join Learning Forward's What Matters Now Network

May 07, 2018

LearningForward logoFor Learning Forward:
Tracy Crow

Maryland, Ohio, and Rhode Island Join Learning Forward’s What Matters Now Network

Dallas, TX – May 7, 2018

Learning Forward is pleased to announce the three states that will participate in the What Matters Now Network, a community of state-based coalitions of educators and policy makers. Maryland, Ohio, and Rhode Island will participate as members of the network, with each state identifying a coalition of stakeholders from the state level to the classroom level to engage in learning to inform policy and practice improvements. Learning Forward, a membership association focused on effective professional learning for K-12 educators, will facilitate the network. The network is grounded in the vision established in What Matters Now: A New Compact for Teaching and Learning, the 2016 report from the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF). NCTAF and Learning Forward merged last year.

The coalitions will support educators in implementing high-quality curriculum and instructional materials. Within each state, practitioners will have the opportunity to apply improvement science methods, performing rapid-cycle testing in local contexts to deepen the state-level coalition’s understanding of potential improvements. Ultimately, practitioner-driven solutions will inform policy moves at the state level so that more students have access to effective teaching and learning.

“We are thrilled to have these states committed to the critical work practitioners will undertake,” said Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of Learning Forward. She continued, “We’re impressed by each state’s unique and sustained approach to professional learning systems as a means to improve outcomes for all students and look forward to facilitating their next steps toward excellence.”

The states chosen have demonstrated not only an interest in leveraging improvement science to achieve equity but also the political will and capacity for implementing substantive change across systems. Each state determines the context in which they will involve educators in the testing of practices that address the specific curricular challenges the state decides to address.

CPRL, the Columbia University Center for Public Research and Leadership, will support the network through its improvement science expertise, facilitating the development and implementation of each state coalition’s inquiry approach to achieving its goal. While all participants in the network are focused on the overall goal of transforming professional learning systems to achieve implementation of high-quality curriculum materials, each state determines its particular focus within that goal.

The What Matters Now Network is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. “Leaders of professional learning at all levels of the educational system have the responsibility to support classroom teachers with opportunities to learn from using high-quality instructional materials designed for more rigorous college and career-ready standards,” said Jim Short, program director, Leadership and Teaching to Advance Learning within the National Education Program at the Carnegie Corporation of New York. “Improvement science offers a way to learn from practice to inform better policies on linking professional learning systems to the implementation of high-quality curricula.”

Members of the three state coalitions will meet at the University of Maryland this week for an Improvement Science Institute offered by CPRL. In-state convenings in the summer and fall will launch the coalition’s work with district- and school-level practitioners.



About Learning Forward
Learning Forward is a nonprofit, international membership association of learning educators committed to one vision in K–12 education: Excellent teaching and learning every day. To realize that vision, Learning Forward pursues its mission to build the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain highly effective professional learning. Information about membership, services, and products is available from