The History of Education for the Future

In August, 2016, Education for the Future celebrated its 25th anniversary at California State University, Chico.

A not-for-profit initiative whose mission is to build the capacity of learning organizations, at all levels to gather, analyze, and use data to continuously improve teaching and learning, Education for the Future works with schools, districts, State Departments of Education, Ministries of Education, and other educational service centers and agencies on program evaluation, systemic improvement, response to intervention, and comprehensive data analysis. For over 25 years, Education for the Future has conducted hundreds of workshops each year, presented data institutes to help schools build their capacity to analyze their own data, and administered thousands of questionnaires to gauge the perceptions of stakeholders.

Victoria L. Bernhardt, Ph.D., has directed the Education for the Future Initiative since its inception at California State University, Chico. Victoria is known worldwide as a leading authority on data analysis for continuous school and district improvement. She is the author of 21 highly praised books on data analysis, school improvement, Response to Intervention, and more. Each of her books shows schools and school districts how to do the work themselves. Her workshops focus on building capacity to analyze and use data effectively. Victoria is known for her down-to-earth, roll up the sleeves, real work that leads to student achievement increases at all school levels. Victoria is a Research Professor Emeritus in the College of Communication and Education, at California State University, Chico.

Education for the Future began as a corporate Initiative, funded by the Pacific Telesis Foundation (Telesis), which became the Pacific Bell Foundation, and later the Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC). The corporation funded Dr. Bernhardt to direct this Initiative for an unprecedented 12 years, because of its successes with turning schools around. Initially, Dr. Bernhardt worked intensively with 12 schools selected by Telesis to “turnaround” their failing results. Each of the schools showed student achievement increases in their first year of working with Dr. Bernhardt, and kept the increases going over time. The Telesis Foundation Board of Directors required Dr. Bernhardt to write a book to describe the framework used so other schools could benefit from the research and learning. That first book, published in 1994, The School Portfolio: A Comprehensive Framework for School Improvement, led to State Departments of Education and school districts all over the country, as well as other countries, requesting Dr. Bernhardt to teach them the framework and to work with them to get student achievement increases. In 1995, Pacific Bell asked that Dr. Bernhardt use that same framework to work with some demonstration schools to improve student learning using technology, specifically the internet, email, and videoconferencing, in an Initiative called Education First (while continuing her work with the Education for the Future schools). All the schools truly integrated technology because they started with the continuous school improvement framework and had all staff agree on how technology could be used to help students achieve student learning standards.

Victoria and the staff of Education for the Future are highly committed individuals who work in this business because they want to make a difference in the lives of children. They are passionate about their mission and truly believe that all students can and will learn when the teaching and learning environment is set up for success. They also believe data analysis, with a strong shared vision, is necessary for this success to happen.

Education for the Future operates entirely from grants and contracts which are administered through the California State University, Chico Research Foundation.