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Diverse Set of Partners Creates Alliance to Strengthen Education and Promote Educational Equity

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

Diverse Set of Partners Creates Alliance to Strengthen Education and Promote Educational Equity By Elevating the Science of Learning and Development




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15, 2019

CONTACT: emily@soldalliance.org

Diverse Set of Partners Creates Alliance to Strengthen Education and Promote Educational Equity By Elevating the Science of Learning and Development


Education and youth-serving organizations and leaders will work together and amplify critical research to ensure that each and every learner experiences an equitable and excellent education and can thrive in school and in life.


WASHINGTON, D.C — Building on decades of research and years of collaboration, a group of education and youth development leaders, policy experts, and researchers have launched a coalition to bring critical research findings about how students best learn and develop into America’s education systems.

The Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance (www.soldalliance.org) is committed to translating and disseminating key lessons from the science of learning and development to support leaders acting individually and collectively to ensure educational equity and excellence for all young people.

SoLD Alliance governing partners, who are formalizing their relationship after years of collaboration, marked the launch of the Alliance by releasing new resources drawing on a wealth of research from recent decades to help policy makers, educators, and others apply the science of learning and development to inform and transform learning inside and outside of school.


“To transform education, we must challenge our assumptions about student potential. Children’s brains are malleable. This means that the fundamental purpose of a 21st-century education system should be to develop the whole child and the learner inside them, using what we know about the science of learning and development.” said Pamela Cantor, M.D., Founder and Senior Science Advisor at Turnaround for Children.

Some of America’s most respected education and youth development veterans will work together as the

SoLD Alliance’s leadership team:

  • Pamela Cantor, M.D., Founder and Senior Science Advisor of Turnaround for Children

  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D., President and CEO of Learning Policy Institute

  • Bethany Little and Scott Palmer, J.D., Managing Partners at EducationCounsel

  • David Osher, Ph.D., Vice President at American Institutes for Research

  • Karen Pittman, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment

  • Todd Rose, Ph.D., Co-founder and President of Populace and Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

“The Forum for Youth Investment is fully prepared to leverage our networks and assets to achieve the Alliance’s goals,” said Pittman. “We believe that improving the odds that all young people achieve their full potential requires a program of thoughtful research that will challenge status quo definitions of readiness (social, emotional, cognitive and academic competence), quality (diverse, rigorous content and supportive, culturally appropriate contexts), equity (opportunities for learning in school and community), and engagement (of youth, family, and community as change agents).”


The members of the SoLD Alliance began working together in 2016 to test a shared hypothesis that converging knowledge from the science of learning and development could provide critical insights and solutions to the persistent inequity and underperformance that exists within many of our country’s education systems.


“Decades of research confirm what we know intrinsically: students’ social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development are deeply intertwined,” said Darling-Hammond. “When students learn in a positive school climate that also engages them in challenging work and motivates them, they are well-prepared for success in school and in the future. There is an urgent need to bring this science to bear on practice and policy, as it illuminates the many ways in which our current system was not designed for the success of all students - nor of most students."


Since 2016, SoLD Alliance governing partners have engaged and convened leading scientists across a number of fields--including neuroscience, epigenetics, learning science, social and emotional learning, early childhood development, the science of adversity, and human development--to understand how to translate and apply knowledge drawn from the initial lessons of the science of learning and development in ways that can have the greatest import for education research, practice, and policy.


“The Science of Learning and Development is rich with promise. It indicates that context matters and that all children reach their full potential and thrive,” said Osher. “There is still much to learn and even more to do – as practitioners, researchers, and community members. The Science of Learning and Development Alliance provides a way for researchers, practitioners, and community members to move this work forward strategically, with a focus on equity, cultural diversity, scientific integrity, and practical utility.”


To make the scientific findings as accessible as possible, the SoLD Alliance is launching a new website (www.soldalliance.org) today that serves as a resource hub for items created and curated by the SoLD Alliance. Additionally, in a public presentation on October 4, the SoLD Alliance hosted a session on potential policy implications of the science of learning and development at the CASEL SEL Exchange conference in Chicago, IL.


"The science of learning and development tells us that there is no such thing as an average learner," said Rose. "It affirms that every child can thrive, and it compels and empowers us to design systems that can help each and every child develop their multiple talents and interests to lead fulfilling lives."


“The science of learning and development presents powerful insights that should shift mindsets and call for big changes in our education systems,” said Palmer and Little. “When understood and acted upon at scale, these changes will greatly benefit all children and have the greatest benefit for students least served by our current systems, based on race, poverty, disability, and more. What was unjustly designed can and should be redesigned to enable everyone to thrive.”


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Using insights from the science of learning and development, the SoLD Alliance (whose members previously worked together as the SoLD Initiative) supports decision makers in research, practice, and policy to transform America’s education and youth-serving systems and achieve equity and excellence for all learners by unleashing their potential for success in the 21st century. The founding partner organizations of the SoLD Alliance include the American Institute for Research, EducationCounsel, Forum for Youth Investment, Learning Policy Institute, Populace, and Turnaround for Children.

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