Michael Petrilli

President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute


Toward a Golden Age of Educational Practice

In recent years, we have reached a homeostasis in American education policy, characterized by clearer and fairer but lighter-touch accountability systems and the incremental growth of school choice options for families—but little appetite for big and bold new initiatives.

This state of play will not last forever, but it provides a real opportunity while it is here.

The opportunity is, for us as a field, to finish what we started, to usher in a Golden Age of Educational Practice. To implement higher standards with fidelity. To improve teacher preparation and development. To strengthen charter school oversight and quality. To make the promise of high-quality career and technical education real.

In this session, Michael J. Petrilli, the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, will explore identify concrete actions that would make evidence-based practice a likelier reality in our schools. They include:
• Supporting efforts to collect richer information about classroom practice;
• Funding the development of new organizations of educators to identify and disseminate evidence-based practices;
• Scaling up networks of schools committed to using evidence-based practices in their classrooms, especially in the charter sector;
• Investing in the sales and marketing of high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials; and
• Creating a national infrastructure for improving the work of instructional coaches.


Mike Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, executive editor of Education Next, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Education Commission of the States. An award-winning writer, he is the author of The Diverse Schools Dilemma and editor of Education for Upward Mobility. Petrilli helped to create the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement and the Policy Innovators in Education Network.