Access to high-quality education is a basic right of every child, regardless of family income. Top-down programs continue to fail us, and distract from efforts to make meaningful reforms.

The basic responsibility for public education rests with the states. Measures to improve public education therefore must begin with the states. Each state can address the particular needs of its students in its own way, developing its own best practices and borrowing best practices from other states when proven to work. The federal government can test samples of students in each state and district to measure their progress — and can publish the results.