India has made unprecedented gains in expanding educational access6; since 2003 primary enrolment has increased by over 63 million children. We have fulfilled the demands of previous policies through schemes such as Operation Blackboard and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). A large concerted effort on enrolments over the years placed emphasis on creating public education infrastructure, setting up schools, and managing every aspect of service delivery. The focus thus far has been on intensification of the public education effort, particularly provisioning through a common schooling system. The results have been mixed: for India’s early challenges with illiteracy, it was essential to jumpstart the education revolution through a largely top-down approach. As the economy and the expectations of the population change, it is time to redefine the central idea governing education in the country. India needs an education policy that will help keep children in school, and ensure consistent and high learning outcomes - demanding higher returns from public investment, ensuring the public school system is accountable and performing, creating a regulatory framework that respects and enables parents’ choices, and encouraging social inclusion in the school system.