As important, national leaders must change the politics around the education issue. As long as the debate comes down to stakeholder interests versus the general interest, the prospects for durable reforms are not good.
Empowering and engaging parents, giving political cover to state and local elective officials, and helping strike win-win political bargains wherever possible are the way to better education politics.
Finally, the bill for our chronic underinvestment in educational research and development is coming due. We lack ideas and information about strategies for teaching and learning that could make schools more effective. We cannot "standards" and "choice" our way to dramatically better schools. Rather, we need a more robust education research and innovation agenda.
We've learned a lot from No Child Left Behind. Whether that learning can pierce the political din is the open question.