Dr. Rebecca Winthrop

Senior Fellow & Co-Director, Center for Universal Education at Brookings Institution

“Education Leadership through Crisis” is a multi-week video series featuring wisdom from a diverse group of education leaders.

Below, watch highlights from host Mubuso Zamchiya’s interview with Dr. Rebecca Winthrop on the pandemic’s potential to be a transformative moment for parent engagement in education, the widening gap of skills inequality, and the importance of using funds effectively.

Scroll down to watch the full interview.

“We find ourselves amid the coronavirus with parent engagement being a central rather than a marginal topic…this is one of the areas where when we think about building back better in education, parent engagement is ripe for transformation.”

Dr. Rebecca Winthrop

Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education, Brookings Institution

Additional links:

Brookings Institution

Meet Dr. Rebecca Winthrop

Dr. Rebecca Winthrop is a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. Her research focuses on education globally, with special attention to the skills young people need to thrive in work, life, and as constructive citizens. Rebecca works to promote quality and relevant education, including exploring how education innovations can leapfrog progress, particularly for the most marginalized children and youth. She advises governments, international institutions, foundations, civil society organizations, and corporations on education issues. She currently serves as a board member and advisor for a number of global education organizations and lectures at Georgetown University, and is also a member of the Luminos Fund’s Advisory Board.

Rebecca has served as the chair of the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative’s Technical Advisory Group, co-led the UNESCO Institute of Statistics Learning Metrics Task Force, and been a member of numerous education initiatives including the G-20 Education Task Force, the Mastercard Foundation’s Youth Learning Advisory Committee, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils on education.

Prior to joining Brookings, Rebecca spent 15 years working on education for displaced and migrant communities, including as head of education for the International Rescue Committee. She holds a PhD from Columbia University, Teachers College; an MA from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs; and a BA from Swarthmore College.

View the Full Interview

Question Breakdown:

1. (00:36) Tell us a little bit about your book “Leapfrogging Inequality.” Why is that framework is so important?

2. (03:05) What does the phrase “building back better” mean in education?

3. (04:58) How do policy, politics, practice, and parenting relate to building back better in this education crisis?

4. (07:25) What is your position, and perhaps the position of Brookings as a whole, as to whether schools should open in this country, and indeed across the world right now?

5. (11:09) What role do you play in helping push us forward to a place where we can actually build back better?

6. (13:05) What advice might you have for new and existing Ministers of Education?

7. (15:18) When you look back at your leadership journey what lessons have you distilled for yourself and what sort of lessons might you share with people about leadership?

8. (18:16) What are your thoughts on the digital divide?

9. (20:42) What is the role of funding when it comes to building education systems back better?

10. (22:51) What was your favorite books growing up and what books are you reading today?

“How can we use this moment to really leapfrog education? Because if this is not a leapfrog moment in education, I don’t know what would be.”

Dr. Rebecca Winthrop

Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education, Brookings Institution

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