Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Improving Education With Collective Action

December 14, 2011

Something new is happening–audacious perhaps, or maybe just plain practical.

With no "silver bullet" for improving education, communities can easily get paralyzed waiting for their state to act on their behalf.  Sitting on the sidelines is not a good option; joining forces to push a powerful improvement agenda just may be.  That’s where the Road Map Project comes in.

The Road Map Project is a new collective impact initiative aimed at getting dramatic improvement in student achievement—cradle through college/career in South Seattle and South King County.

It started in 2010 because passionate people from many sectors joined together to address the region’s educational underperformance and to close achievement gaps. The challenges are glaring given the high-tech economy of the Puget Sound area and the demand for well-educated workers.

Recently we released our Baseline Report on the state of education in South King County and South Seattle. The report provides data on key indicators of student success from cradle to college and career.  It shows both the sobering starting points and the project’s 2020 goals.

The data show the huge need for improvement—from early learning to college completion—especially for students of color. The Baseline report also highlights numerous "bright spots," examples of the great work going on in the region that needs to be expanded.

We believe that if educators, parents, communities, and funders work together, we can make the dramatic improvements needed for the students growing up here. Just last spring, we witnessed a great example of collective action: 93% of our region’s low-income students signed up for the College Bound Scholarship. Hundreds of organizations worked together, in partnership with school districts, to accomplish this.

We invite you to read the report and join us in making much needed collective impact for the children and the future of our region.

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