04/11/2014 05:32 pm ET Updated Jun 11, 2014

Overcoming Achievement Gaps Defined by Zip Codes

The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education recently released a set of comprehensive recommendations for the future of education in Massachusetts. The report, "A New Opportunity to Lead," recommends the steps necessary for Massachusetts' education system to lead the world in the coming decades.

It revealed that while Massachusetts leads the nation in terms of the quality of education we offer our students, there are still thousands of students left behind. Many students still suffer persistent achievement gaps defined by zip codes, even in progressive Massachusetts. "A New Opportunity to Lead" suggests ways to build on the strength of the existing system, while addressing those persistent gaps by promoting the skills necessary to be successful in today's economy and diverse society.

We know today's economy requires more students than ever to possess a wider variety of skills than ever, and educational technology is evolving quickly. We also know more about the brain and how people learn. Despite these realities, our current education system looks much like it did in our grandparents' day.

The report suggests that simply staying the course described by our historic 1993 legislation is not enough. Instead, we should build on our accomplishments and modernize our system to one that centers more fully on students. We need a different approach to engaging students, based not only on what we now know about brain science and child development, but also on the skills that are needed to meet the challenges of the future.

By ignoring inefficacies and inequities, we are accepting them. Instead, we must transform schooling and treat public education as the public good that it is -- one in which all students graduate prepared so that our world-class democracy flourishes.

Ultimately, we need to address underlying inequities in our education system, shift the practice of teaching and learning in the classroom, modernize schooling and promote a culture that recognizes public education as the public good that it is -- where all students graduate prepared for what's next.

We encourage you to read the full MBAE report here.