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New National Education Think Tank to Focus on Learning

LPI Launch PR 920

Palo Alto, CA, September 3, 2015A new national education think tankthe Learning Policy Instituteis being announced today. Its mission is to conduct high-quality research to inform evidence-based policies that can prepare all students for the challenges of our fast-changing, knowledge-based society.

Bridging the often far-apart worlds of research and policymaking, as well as knowledge about learning and the design of education systems, the Institute’s work will be independent and nonpartisan, focusing on learning from pre-k through high school.

Internationally renowned researcher and policy expert Linda Darling-Hammond will serve as President and CEO of the organization.

“We’ve arrived at a new moment for public education in America,” said Dr. Darling-Hammond. “All children need to be able to inquire deeply, think critically, communicate, and collaborate to solve challenging problems. Fortunately, we have growing knowledge about how to create learning environments that can accomplish these goals. The Learning Policy Institute will focus on turning that knowledge into action to promote policies that enable each and every child to learn, think, and thrive.”

Darling-Hammond, who is Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, is joined by Executive Director Patrick M. Shields, who comes to the Institute after 20 years creating and building a highly respected education research center at SRI International. They will lead a team of researchers, educators, policy experts, and communicators that will conduct, marshal, and disseminate research; translate research for federal, state, and local policymakers; host policy briefings, seminars, and debates; and engage in extensive communication, outreach, and networking.

“Rather than leaving research on the shelf, where it often lands, the Learning Policy Institute will carry research about what works directly into the policy arena,” said Shields. “We’ll provide all those who care about improving education with independent, practical knowledge and information.”

In doing this work, Institute staff will connect the people who shape public policy with evidence, ideas, and actions to strengthen the education system and address the complex realities facing public schools and their communities. And they will collaborate with leaders in education, government, business and other fields who share a commitment to high-quality education and who want to follow the evidence where it leads in the search for smart policy.

“In this new moment, there’s very substantial interest in finding agreement across old political divides so that our nation can move education forward,” added Board Chairwoman, Susan Sandler. “Most people want an education system that guarantees that all children learn and graduate, find good jobs, and contribute to society to make the world a better place. The Institute will build on those areas of agreement.”

In addition to Ms. Sandler, a trustee with the Sandler Foundation, and Dr. Darling- Hammond, the Board of Directors includes:

  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
  • Kris D. Gutiérrez, Professor of Language, Literacy and Culture at the University of California, Berkeley; Former President of the American Education Research Association; Former Vice-chair and current board member for the Institute for Education Sciences.
  • David Lyon (Treasurer), Founding President Emeritus of the Public Policy Institute of California and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
  • David Rattray, Executive Vice President, Education and Workforce Development, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; President of UNITE-LA.
  • Stephan Turnipseed, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships, LEGO Education; President Emeritus, LEGO Education, North America; Chairman, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

The Atlantic Philanthropies, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Sandler Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation are providing initial support for the Institute.

Follow LPI on Twitter @LPI_Learning. Also see Linda Darling-Hammond’s Huffington Post blog.


About Linda Darling Hammond (President and CEO)

Linda Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign. She continues to teach part-time in the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She previously served as Director of the RAND Corporation’s education program and as the William F. Russell Professor of Education at Columbia University, Teachers College.

Darling-Hammond is past president of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its awards for Distinguished Contributions to Research, Lifetime Achievement, and Research-to-Policy. She is also a member of the American Association of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Education. She is recipient of 14 honorary degrees, as well as numerous national and international awards for the quality and impact of her research.  These include the coveted Grawemeyer Award, the Brock International Prize, the Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Research, and the Margaret B. Lindsay Award for Distinguished Research in Teacher Education.

Darling-Hammond began her career as a public school teacher and co-founded both a preschool and a public high school. She has consulted widely with federal, state, and local officials and educators on strategies for improving education policies and practices. From 1994–2001, she was Founding Executive Director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, whose 1996 report, What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future was named one of the most influential reports affecting U.S. education in that decade. In 2006, Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people affecting educational policy. In 2008, she served as the leader of President Barack Obama’s education policy transition team. Among her more than 500 publications are a number of award-winning books, including The Right to Learn, Teaching as the Learning Profession, Preparing Teachers for a Changing World and The Flat World and Education. She received an Ed.D. from Temple University, with highest distinction, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University.

About Patrick M. Shields (Executive Director)

Patrick M. Shields was previously the executive director of SRI Education. He has more than 25 years of experience managing large-scale social science research projects, and his work has focused on efforts to provide high-quality learning opportunities to every student in the United States. He served as research director for Teaching and California’s Future, a 15-year initiative to track the quality of the teacher workforce that contributed to legislation to ensure high-quality teaching for the poorest of California’s students. Shields has also overseen many NSF- and foundation-supported studies of STEM opportunities for disadvantaged children, including as the co-principal investigator of the Science Activation Lab, a national research and design effort to dramatically strengthen learning. In addition, he previously was co-principal investigator of a U.S. Department of Education study on English-learner reclassification in California.

Shields received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Educational Policy from Stanford University, an M.A. in Educational Administration from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Romance Languages from Amherst College. He serves on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Strengthening Science Education through a Teacher Learning Continuum. He also was on the Academy’s Committee on the Influence of Standards in Mathematics, Science, and Technology, worked as a senior policy advisor to the Center for Research on Educational Diversity and Excellence at the University of California, a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards Impact Research Group, and served as a member of the Committee of Visitors for the Center for Informal Learning and Schools.