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Past Event

Promoting K-12 Education to Advance Student Achievement

Great teachers and great schools have the ability to transform the living standard of Americans.  Over the past century, investments in education have boosted the productivity and earnings of American workers, forged a path out of poverty for many families, and developed a productive and innovative workforce.  However, those gains have stagnated and even declined in recent years.  Despite one of the highest rates of per-pupil spending among industrialized countries, the United States ranks as mediocre on most measures of student achievement.

On September 27, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a forum to highlight new policy ideas and perspectives on how to improve student performance in K-12 education. The Hamilton Project released a new strategy paper and three new policy proposals by outside experts focusing on the use of incentives in education, opportunities for organizational changes to improve performance, and a new approach to accountability for teachers and students. The program concluded with a discussion on the path forward in education reform with Teach for America Founder and CEO Wendy Kopp and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, moderated by David Leonhardt, D.C. bureau chief of the New York Times.

Following each panel, the participants took questions from the audience.

Strategy Paper:


Improving Student Outcomes: Restoring America’s Education Potential – Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney, and Paige Shevlin

Policy Papers:

The Power and Pitfalls of Education Incentives – Bradley M. Allan and Roland Fryer

New Assessments for Improved Accountability – Derek Neal

Organizing Schools to Improve Student Achievement: Start Times, Grade Configurations, and Teacher Assignments  – Jonah Rockoff and Brian Jacob


9:00 AM -- Welcome

Robert E. Rubin

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary

Co-Chair Emeritus - Council on Foreign Relations

Overview of Hamilton Project Strategy Paper

9:15 AM -- Panel I: The Power and Pitfalls of Incentives in Education

10:05 AM -- Panel II: Picking the Low-Hanging Fruit in the Public School System

Paper Author

Brian A. Jacob

Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy; Professor of Economics, and Professor of Education - University of Michigan

Former Brookings Expert

11:10 AM -- Panel III: A Different Approach to Accountability in American Education

12:00 PM -- Roundtable Discussion: Lessons Learned from Education Reform and the Path Forward


Wendy Kopp

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder - Teach For All

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