The scoop on the PIE Network

Here's a question making the rounds of Ohio education policymakers: What's this "PIE Network" we keep hearing about? No, it's not a recipe bank for your favorite blueberry, rhubarb, or apple pie, but rather the Policy Innovation in Education (PIE) Network, a new national, nonpartisan forum for policymakers and civic leaders to access innovative ideas that advance equity and achievement in education.

Four national education organizations launched the PIE Network late last year: the Center for American Progress; the Center for Reinventing Public Education, Education Sector, and the national arm of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Together, these organizations span the ideological spectrum-with officials from the Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush administrations among their leaders. Yet, they find consensus on most of the pressing issues in education. It is the hope of the four organizations that a national network can provide cover for policymakers on both sides of the legislative aisle to forge solutions to our educational problems. It is piloting this idea in five states, including Ohio.

Earlier this year, the PIE Network hosted a daylong symposium in Columbus on education reform in partnership with the Ohio Grantmakers Forum. Last month it held its first national "summit" in Chicago, focusing on transforming low-performing schools. Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan and former Blair Administration official Sir Michael Barber keynoted the event, which also featured roundtable discussions on teacher quality, school funding and interventions for failing schools.

The PIE Network is now planning its next steps. For more information on the initiative, briefs on some of the most promising innovations in education policy and to sign up for its brand-new newsletter, go to http://www.edpolicyinnovation.net/.

Petrilli is acting executive director of the PIE Network, as well as Fordham's vice president for national programs and policy.

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