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Education Redesign Lab Launches at HGSE

A new initiative will focus on building a new education “engine” for 21st-century success in schools.

Dean James Ryan has announced the launch of the Education Redesign Lab — a new initiative based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and led by Professor Paul Reville — focused on building a new education “engine” for 21st-century success in schools. A $1 million gift from the Linda Hammett Ory and Andrew Ory Charitable Trust (Linda Hammett Ory, A.B.’82, Ed.M.’93, and Andrew Ory, A.B.’88) will allow the Lab to pursue its aim to ensure economically disadvantaged students have a full and fair chance to master the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in life.

“The Education Redesign Lab is a critically important venture that holds great promise in developing an entirely new model for education in the U.S. — one that is designed to serve all students, especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds,” Ryan said. “Thanks to the generous and timely support of HGSE alumna Linda Hammett Ory and her husband Andy Ory, the Lab is off to an exciting beginning under the leadership of Paul Reville and his team.”

Reville echoed Ryan’s sentiments. “We are deeply grateful for this generous gift from the Ory family, which will enable us to effectively launch the Education Redesign Lab into the field. This gift will enable us to begin some field work in communities eager to embrace some of our redesign concepts,” he said.

Though still in its early stages, the Ed Redesign Lab will create a new learning engine that considers a broader conception of schooling, shaped by a national design process, that addresses and integrates three core elements: expanded, differentiated, and personalized schooling; comprehensive health and well-being supports; and high-quality and readily available out-of-school learning opportunities.

Linda Hammett Ory and Andrew Ory are longtime supporters of the Ed School, who are strong education advocates interested in educating the whole child, as well as innovation that solves education’s biggest challenges.

The Orys were impressed with Reville’s vision of the lab and saw his entrepreneurial approach as a promise to shake up the thinking around “what we need our education system to be in the 21st century,” Hammett Ory said. The ambitious initiative, she said, is a coordinated effort that, with the help of Reville’s experience as a former Secretary of Education for Massachusetts and his insight into government, has the potential to transform the U.S. education system.

“His experience makes him a leader who can successfully implement the redesign of American public education in order to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse society,” Hammett Ory said. “My hope for the Education Redesign Lab is that it will overhaul our country’s public education system into one we can all be proud of – one that supports children in poverty and provides the skills they need to transform their lives, while simultaneously offering a great education to all children, regardless of their economic or cultural background.”

The gift will allow for Reville and team to have a quick start to the work they plan for the initiative.

“[The gift] will help us conduct vital research on the impediments to scaling effective practice, while giving us the wherewithal to convene experts from the Harvard faculty and elsewhere to grapple with key concepts such as the personalization of education,” Reville said. “We are thrilled and ready to go.”