The chief impulse for implementing reform strategies that led to higher student achievement? Pressure from the federal government in the form of NCLB and Race to the Top. Cerf said, “In my view, these pressures were instrumental, in fact, necessary conditions for change. It was so easy to say, ‘Whether or not you like it, the feds are saying we have to do it."
In this coverage by Naomi Nix at The 74, he elaborates:
In my view, for over 50 years, states — far from being laboratories of reform — have far too often been laboratories of stasis, interest-group politics and inaction, with truly tragic and deeply immoral consequences for the overwhelming majority of our urban poor, who, not coincidentally, are mostly children of color...The general despair about the futility of reform is not entirely warranted. With sufficient courage, stick-to-it-ness and discipline, the reform playbook can make a difference.