Making a difference in a new role

Editor’s Note: Today, Education Sector Board Chair Macke Raymond announced that Richard Lee Colvin will join Education Sector as its executive director.

Richard Lee Colvin

For the past eight years, I’ve had the great fortune to lead the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University where, most recently, we created The Hechinger Report, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan source of in-depth reporting on education. We’ve had good support from foundations and have collaborated with many fine news organizations to increase the supply of such coverage. The Hechinger Report will continue on its current course; a number of ambitious projects are in the works. It’s been an exhilarating, exhausting and highly rewarding time, one that I will value for the rest of my life. In that endeavor, I’ve had the honor of working with talented and committed colleagues who believe in good journalism and in the power of education to change lives.

I know that power personally. Neither of my parents had the chance to go to college, though they educated themselves along the way and achieved great success. Perhaps their biggest success was that they insisted on their four sons going to college and told us that we had to earn scholarships because they wouldn’t be able to afford the tuition. That’s what we did, and all of us earned degrees, got good jobs, formed families and sent our own children to college. Education has a multiplier effect like that: Educate one generation, and that generation will make sure its children are educated. The nation will thrive as a result, reaping the rewards of invention, creativity and productivity.

Since its founding by Andy Rotherham and Tom Toch, Education Sector has used the power of good ideas communicated clearly to help improve the odds that all Americans will have the opportunity to gain a good education. The foundation for their work has always been evidence, not ideology. And they have become an important asset in this quest.

This is an exciting time to be working in education policy. The next 10 years will bring greater international economic competition and we as a nation must find ways to educate far more of our young people far better than we’ve done in the past. Education Sector will be a leader in this effort by bringing forth innovative solutions and advocating for them with policy makers. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the organization as we extend our work into new areas and grow in reach and influence.

POSTED BY ON January 12, 2011