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Advancing Creative Solutions to Assure Fairness and Excellence in Education

As South Africa moves into the 21st century, it does not yet have the educational system it requires to develop the growth to overcome poverty and unemployment. This is a central issue how South Africa builds a universal education system for primary and secondary levels that really works.
Beyond Racism: Embracing an Interdependent Future - In Their Own Voices (2000)

Promising Practices

Advancing fairness and excellence in education is not a simple business. It involves a complex process of change that must bring together good policies, promising practices, and persistent, effective people.

For this reason, improving education and educational opportunity in schools involves understanding first what can work and under what circumstances it can work. As Stanley Litow, Vice President for Corporate Community Relations at the IBM Corporation observes: "You can't change anything without being prepared to understand it. School governance, school finance and school personnel are issues that must be internalized and understood before - and not while - one is attempting a reform."

At the same time, there are no "silver bullets." As IBM's Litow notes: "in education, initiating a small pilot or model school program seldom has led to systemic change. Unlike in other enterprises, 'benchmarking' (the process of identifying a successful best practice and replicating it) often involves moving against institutional barriers that can be eliminated in one or more small experiments but are thwarted when moving system wide."

To assist in understanding what can work and how to enable both models of change and improved systems of education, SEF provides a listing of links to some of the best sites for promising practices relating to Southern education. SEF welcomes suggestions about other sites, programs, and resources for promising practices.

Section List Links

Best Practices Clearinghouse (Arizona K-12 Center)

The Arizona K-12 Center is focused on Arizona but includes important links and information relating to national and Southern education. Among other objectives, the Center tries to identify and promote best practices relating to recruitment, preparation, certification, induction, retention, evaluation, and professional development of K-12 educators statewide in order to increase student achievement.

Education Commission of the States

ECS Projects and Centers: ECS has several projects and centers that offer topical information on emerging developments and practices.

Just for the Kids

This organization studies the highest performing schools to find out what works. Just for the Kids believes that an important step in school improvement is to investigate and learn from what successful schools are doing.

NGA - National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

The NGA Center for Best Practices monitors best practices as a way to help find and implement innovative solutions to challenges facing the states. One focus of best practices is in the field of education.

Pathways to School Improvement: NCREL North Central Regional Educational Laboratory

Pathways synthesizes research, policy, and best practices on issues critical to educators engaged in school improvement.

Promising Practices Network

Best Practices: The Promising Practices Network (PPN) web site is not exclusively an education site. It highlights programs and practices that credible research indicates are effective in improving outcomes for children, youth, and families. The information offered is organized around three major areas: Proven and Promising Programs, Research in Brief, and Strengthening Service Delivery.

Southern Regional Education Board

SREB has a program that focuses on Making Schools Work. It is a comprehensive school-improvement initiative aimed at raising student achievement in clusters of rural high schools and their feeder middle grades. The effort combines the Southern Regional Education Boards High Schools That Work research and emerging middle-grades efforts into an integrated whole-school improvement initiative.

The Alabama Best Practices Center

The Center provides research and practical information about raising the quality of teaching and school leadership to improve student achievement in Alabama. While focused on Alabama, the site assembles information from around the nation as well as from across Alabama.

The Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood

The Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood provides research on innovative models in early childhood education and produces material that support best practices.

U.S. State and Local Gateway

FirstGov.gov is the official U.S. gateway to all government information. It includes current and archived data published on government web sites. This link provides a compilation of government sites on best practices in education that were web-published since the 1990s.

What Works Clearinghouse

Best Practices: Provide educators, policymakers, researches, and the public with a central, independent, and trusted source of scientific evidence of what works in education.