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As Science for All Americans neared completion, questions of implementation came into view, and the need for Project 2061 to have a better understanding of the education system became more and more apparent. To that end, the project arbitrarily—but with lots of advice—identified a dozen key parts of the education system and then sought the help of experts in describing those parts and their interactions. The result of all of this was Blueprints for Reform.

Systemic reform in education can, it would seem, be approached as a line of action and a line of  thought. Most of what has been happening has been on the action side—bringing the right organizations, institutions, and agencies together in common cause to solve urgent problems. A sensible and necessary step. But the thought side is also important, though it has received less attention. This is perfectly understandable. We know, after all, that reform will elude us unless we work in concert to find and carry out solutions, and we need to get on with it now; understanding seems less urgent.

There is a give-and-take between action and understanding. Through their actions, reformers have increased our understanding of what reform might entail. But to be effective in the long-run, our actions need to be informed by an understanding of education as a system. For that Project 2061 has found Blueprints useful and think it might be similarly useful for our colleagues who are engaged in and thinking about systemic reform in science, mathematics, and technology education.

This is at best, however, only a first step toward that understanding. Blueprints is on the Project 2061 Web site where it will serve as a focus of a national discussion on systemic issues in education. Hopefully, that will in time lead to deeper insights all around and hence contribute to enduring systemic reform.

F. James Rutherford
Director, Project 2061


Blueprints Online
Project 2061
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Washington, DC

Copyright © 1998 by American Association for the Advancement of Science