The U.S. Education Delivery Institute (EDI) was founded in May 2010 by Sir Michael Barber, former head of the U.K. Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, with support from the Education Trust and Achieve.
This is a unique time in education: Many K-12 state systems have set ambitious goals as part of the Race to the Top competition, while higher education systems are working to achieve President Obama's goal of making the United States number one in the world in college attainment by 2020. Meanwhile, fiscal concerns are requiring education systems to do more with fewer resources.
While systems often have the right ambitions and promising policies, the process of planning and driving implementation receives less attention. More often than not, leaders approach implementation by fighting fires, making a laundry list of initiatives, or otherwise managing in an uncoordinated way.
Prime Minister Tony Blair faced a similar implementation dilemma in 2001, as he was elected to a second term. To help him deliver on his priorities, he created the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) and appointed Sir Michael Barber to lead the effort. The PMDU pioneered a new approach to managing priorities – delivery – and used it with great success to help Blair achieve his priorities. With the help of the delivery unit, the Blair government reached 80% of policy targets; Prime Minister Blair called his investment in delivery the best domestic reform he had made.
EDI has adapted the delivery approach for the American education context. We work with states and systems that are poised to make bold changes, including K-12 systems committed to an ambitious agenda through their federal Race to the Top applications and higher education systems actively engaged in the Access to Success Initiative.
The processes, techniques, and vehicles of delivery have been field-tested with higher education and K-12 leaders across the United States. These leaders have put into place the kinds of practices and structural changes that we anticipate will yield lasting results. EDI does not offer up new policies or magic-bullet solutions; rather, we focus on helping our partner systems use the delivery approach to implement policies that reflect national best practice.