Designs for Change
Designs for Change (DFC) is a 28-year-old educational research and reform organization that helps create successful “learning paths” for urban children and youth from birth to adulthood, resulting in educational competence, an occupation with a future, and active civic participation. DFC places a major priority on improving the learning paths of low-income students, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities in Chicago and other major cities. DFC focuses especially on improving the quality and results of elementary and secondary education, because of their critical role in shaping the learning paths of young people.
In pursuing these priorities, Designs for Change grounds its improvement activities in previous and on-going research by DFC and other researchers.
DFC’s educational research and reform efforts are carried out through two major programs:
• Educational Improvement Program (formerly Policy Reform Program). Based on research, the Educational Improvement Program educates and assists key educational stakeholders in Chicago school communities in implementing existing educational policy and programs effectively and in pressing for needed changes in current policy, in ways that will improve the quality of students’ educational experiences, student achievement, and parent and community involvement in the schools. The Educational Improvement Program focuses on improving education for Chicago’s most vulnerable students, including low-income students, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities.
• Learning Path Institute. Learning Path Institute will offer an Associate of Arts program for active parent and community leaders working for the improvement of public education, as well as for the improvement of other institutions that can help create productive “learning paths” for urban children and youth — from birth to a career with a future. The Institute will prepare its graduates to subsequently become teachers and human service professionals.