Laboratories of Innovation: Building and Using Evidence in Charter Schools

As originally envisioned, charter schools were intended to be laboratories of innovation. Offering broad flexibility in exchange for performance-based accountability, charter schools are well-positioned to test, validate, and adopt new practices in a public school environment.

Patrick Lester

Patrick Lester is the director of the Social Innovation Research Center (SIRC).

The Social Innovation Research Center (SIRC) is a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization devoted to increasing the impact of nonprofits and public agencies in the field of human services. The center's work falls into three main categories: (1) reports and case studies on highly effective nonprofits and public agencies; (2) public policy analysis; and (3) coverage of major social innovation-related news based on interviews with leading experts, government officials, and front-line practitioners.

Tiered Evidence Grants - An Assessment of the Education Innovation and Research Program

Early-stage innovations receive smaller grants; mid-level programs with promising evidence receive larger grants; and initiatives with substantial evidence of success in multiple settings are expanded nationally and receive the largest grants.

Performance Partnership Pilots: Increasing Program Flexibility to Improve Outcomes

As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2014, Congress authorized a limited number of local projects targeted to assisting disconnected youth. The Performance Partnership Pilots program currently involves participation from seven different federal departments or agencies and is administered by the Department of Education.

Building Performance Systems for Social Service Programs

Prodded by past scandals and court orders, the State of Tennessee today has one of the nation’s best performance-contracting systems for its child welfare program. In this report, Patrick Lester documents its evolution and use, and how Tennessee has avoided some of the common design flaws endemic in other social service programs using the performance-based contract model.

Director
Social Innovation Research Center
United States

Patrick Lester is the director of the Social Innovation Research Center (SIRC).

The Social Innovation Research Center (SIRC) is a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization devoted to increasing the impact of nonprofits and public agencies in the field of human services. The center's work falls into three main categories: (1) reports and case studies on highly effective nonprofits and public agencies; (2) public policy analysis; and (3) coverage of major social innovation-related news based on interviews with leading experts, government officials, and front-line practitioners.

Mr. Lester was previously a director at the Center for Effective Government, Vice President for Social Impact at Social Solutions, Vice President for Public Policy at the Alliance for Children and Families, and Director of Public Policy at United Way of America (now United Way Worldwide).  He also served on the staff of the Domestic Policy Council in the Clinton White House.

Further information about the Social Innovation Research Center can be found on the organization’s web site at www.socialinnovationcenter.org.