iNACOL Legislative Update – Enabling Policies to Transform K-12 Education

February 27, 2015 by

Written By Maria Worthen (mworthen@inacol.org) and Susan Gentz (sgentz@inacol.org).
February 20-27, 2015

As we write this, the US House of Representatives is debating an ESEA reauthorization bill, with a vote expected by the end of the day. In the states, 45 legislatures are now in session. March is generally a very busy month because states are still filing legislation but there is also a good amount of movement in committees and in chambers. As always, we will be sure to keep you updated on these important bills.

The purpose of this blog is to share policy developments in the field of K-12 online learning, blended learning, and competency education – to highlight recent trends, enablers, identify barriers and provide an issues update. It includes a snapshot of important education policies, regulations, gubernatorial, and legislative affairs.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background information and recommendations for issues on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.

State Policy Highlights

  • Two bills have been introduced, one in Minnesota and the other in Oregon, to encourage teacher preparation programs to create competency-based pathways for teacher certification.
  • A bill in Minnesota would provide an appropriation to increase online college course offerings for K-12 students. Another bill in Minnesota would establish the “digital student achievement backpack” to allow for the secured use of student data.
  • A bill in Texas creates an allotment for school districts to purchase technological equipment that contributes to student learning. (more…)

iNACOL Legislative Update – Enabling Policies to Transform K-12 Education

February 24, 2015 by

Written By Maria Worthen (mworthen@inacol.org) and Susan Gentz (sgentz@inacol.org).
February 13-19, 2015

There is still a significant amount of legislation being introduced this session. Some states have already reached, or will reach committee deadlines soon. This means that bills that do not pass out of committee by a certain date will no longer be eligible for consideration. Mississippi has already passed its date, and Iowa’s committee deadline will be coming up within the next couple of weeks. We will continue to keep you updated on the status of bills that are of interest to the field.

The purpose of this blog is to share policy developments in the field of K-12 online learning, blended learning, and competency education – to highlight recent trends, enablers, identify barriers and provide an issues update. It includes a snapshot of important education policies, regulations, gubernatorial, and legislative affairs.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background information and recommendations for issues on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.

State Policy Highlights

  • A bill in Arkansas would allow a district to petition the State Board of Education to waive the same regulations as they would for charter schools.
  •  A bill we’ve been following in Iowa to extend the virtual academy pilot was amended and passed the House of Representatives. The amendment would allow students with disabilities to open enroll into one of the virtual academies, even if their attendance would exceed an online school’s enrollment cap.
  • A bill in Idaho would provide approved professional-technical online courses to any Idaho school district.

(more…)

iNACOL Policy Update – Enabling Policies to Transform K-12 Education

February 13, 2015 by

Written by Maria Worthen (mworthen@inacol.org) and Susan Gentz (sgentz@inacol.org).
February 5-12, 2015

The month of February is almost halfway over, but the bills are still being introduced at a steady pace. The federal government and the states continue to discuss education issues, and we will continue to keep you updated.

The purpose of this blog is to share policy developments in the field of K-12 online learning, blended learning and competency education – to highlight recent trends and enablers, and to identify barriers and provide an issues update. It includes a snapshot of important education policies, regulations, gubernatorial and legislative affairs.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background information and recommendations for issues on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.

State Policy Highlights

  • A bill in Arizona would create the Course Success Accounts Program which provides supplemental education savings accounts that can be used for online courses.
  • In Maine, a bill would require the state to provide full funding of public charter schools, including virtual schools.
  • Another bill in Maine would require development of an essential programs and services funding model for virtual public charter school educational services different from the current model.

(more…)

Statement on House ESEA Markup and Recommendations for Essential Elements

February 11, 2015 by

As the reauthorization process continues for a next generation Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we urge Members of Congress in both the House and Senate to continue to work together on collaborative solutions to transform K-12 education with personalized, competency-based learning pathways for every student. Passage of the bill out of the committee today is an important first step to a long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

iNACOL’s work with state and district leaders throughout the country has identified essential building blocks for a new law supporting the success and achievement of all U.S. students and schools, including:

  • fixing accountability and developing systems of assessments with validity and reliability that takes into account better analysis of individual student growth and multiple measures of learning, including a pilot to enable innovation and competency-based approaches;
  • rethinking federal policies on educator preparation, credentialing and professional development to prepare educators for personalized, competency-based learning environments;
  • rewarding successful new learning models and scaling them up through competitive funding;
  • focusing on equity and excellence, with annual academic assessments to shine a light on achievement gaps and better align the system around student-centered learning in order to ensure all students are reaching their full potential.

For more, please see iNACOL’s statement on the Senate’s ESEA discussion and our Recommendations to Support Competency Education in Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, developed in partnership with KnowledgeWorks.

iNACOL Policy Update – Enabling Policies to Transform K-12 Education

February 6, 2015 by

Written by Maria Worthen (mworthen@inacol.org) and Susan Gentz (sgentz@inacol.org).
January 30 – February 5, 2015

With ESEA reauthorization moving on Capitol Hill and more states coming into session, the House, the Senate, and the states are all keeping us very busy this week.

The purpose of this blog is to share policy developments in the field of K-12 online learning, blended learning and competency education – to highlight recent trends, enablers, identify barriers and provide an issues update. It includes a snapshot of important education policies, regulations, gubernatorial and legislative affairs.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background information and recommendations for issues on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.

State Policy Highlights

  • Nevada, Oregon and Oklahoma convened for the session.
  • A bill in Arizona would create a competency-based innovation pilot program.
  • A bill in Iowa would repeal the sunset of a pilot program authorizing two full-time online schools.

(more…)

iNACOL Policy Update – Enabling Policies to Transform K-12 Education

January 30, 2015 by

Written by Maria Worthen (mworthen@inacol.org) and Susan Gentz (sgentz@inacol.org).
January 23-29, 2015

January is coming to a close and the introduction of new bills should start to slow down soon. The work is just beginning, however; we’ll be tracking these bills’ movements as state sessions progress. Keep checking back to see what legislation is gaining traction in the 2015 session.

The purpose of this blog is to share policy developments in the field of K-12 online learning, blended learning and competency education – to highlight recent trends and enablers, to identify barriers, and to provide an issues update. It includes a snapshot of important education policies, regulations, gubernatorial and legislative affairs.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background information and recommendations for issues on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.

State Policy Highlights

Utah convened for session on January 26, 2015.

There were four bills of interest in Mississippi this week:

  • To establish a Council for Education Technology and provide access to individualized instruction through computer-based technology;
  • To establish the Digital Access Learning and Virtual Instruction Program Act;

(more…)

iNACOL Policy Update – Enabling Policies to Transform K-12 Education

January 23, 2015 by

January 16-22, 2015
By iNACOL Center for Policy Advocacy

Welcome to the fourth installment of the iNACOL Policy Update. January is proving to be a busy month, with many state legislatures coming back into session, ESEA reauthorization activity picking up in Congress, and several education mentions in the President’s State of the Union address. The purpose of this blog is to share policy developments in the field of K-12 online learning, blended learning and competency education – to highlight recent trends and enablers, and to identify barriers and provide an issues update. It includes a snapshot of important education policies, regulations, gubernatorial and legislative affairs.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background and recommendations for policy issues and more information on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.

State Policy Highlights

  • Alaska and New Mexico convened for session on January 20, 2015.
  • An Arizona bill would create a statewide program for students to access courses online, provide for performance-based funding, and open pathways for competency education.

(more…)

#SOTU: Building Capacity for the Future of U.S. Education

January 20, 2015 by

This evening, President Obama reinforced policy initiatives that underscore essential elements to strengthen our country’s public schools. Equitable access to broadband Internet and protecting the security and privacy of student data to improve learning are necessary to the creation of effective and safe learning environments for our teachers and students. Equally important, however, is the potential for a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for a new generation of educators and learners. iNACOL believes this will be core to the conversation we, as a nation, must have about the future of the U.S. public education system over the coming months. Working with pioneers in K-12 education to deliver on the promise of online, blended, and competency-based learning to prepare K-12 students for lifetime success, we are witnessing the transformation of the American education system. Our classrooms are moving away from the one-size-fits-all, traditional educational model and toward technology-enabled, personalized learning environments. These powerful new learning models have the potential to transform the education system and enable higher levels of learning through competency-based approaches.

As President Obama stressed tonight, America should be looking to the future instead of the past. In 2015, Congress and the country have a rare chance to develop an updated ESEA, supporting education innovators and pioneering classroom and school leaders; holding schools accountable for student achievement; ensuring students are demonstrating mastery of content and skills; and developing next generation accountability systems. Across the country, schools, districts, and states are already embracing competency education as an approach to teaching and learning to maximize success for every child and close learning gaps for each student through personalized learning pathways.

Developing a stronger public education system for all U.S. students is an issue on which we can all agree. This year, policymakers have an opportunity to support state and local innovators by establishing a student-centered federal education policy. Fifteen years into this century, with a mandate to build capacity for our schools to deliver college and career readiness, it is time we couple 21st century technology with the best of online and classroom practice to provide each and every student with a world-class education.

iNACOL Policy Update – Enabling Policies to Transform K-12 Education

January 16, 2015 by

January 9 – January 15, 2015
By iNACOL Center for Policy Advocacy

The 2015 legislative session is well underway, and new bills are being dropped in the hopper at a fast pace across the nation.

The purpose of this blog is to share policy developments in the field of K-12 online learning, blended learning and competency education – to highlight recent trends and enablers, and to identify barriers and provide an issues update. It includes a snapshot of important education policies, regulations, gubernatorial and legislative affairs.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background and recommendations for policy issues and more information on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.

State Policy Highlights

  • Seventeen state legislatures convened this week: Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Delaware, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
  • A bill in Minnesota would allow fully certified teachers from adjoining states to transfer their certification to Minnesota and receive a full, five-year continuing teaching license without having to complete any additional exams or other preparation requirements.

(more…)

Supporting Competency Education in ESEA Reauthorization

January 12, 2015 by
This post originally appeared on CompetencyWorks on January 10, 2015. 
 

A new congress brings new hopes for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA reauthorization provides an important window of opportunity to realign federal policy to support and enable the transition to competency education.

Background

The new Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Lamar Alexander, has indicated his intention to consider an ESEA reauthorization bill in that committee by February. House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman, Representative John Kline, has said it will be a top priority. Both have announced plans to hold hearings in the next month.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told the state education chiefs last fall that the new Congress gives new potential to work on a bipartisan basis and that he will be pushing very hard to reauthorize ESEA.

With positive signals coming from House, Senate, and the Education Department leaders about reauthorization, could 2015 be ESEA’s year? Maybe, maybe not– but if you care about the outcome, it’s still essential to weigh in.

The importance of weighing in on ESEA

Here’s why it’s important to get engaged whether or not a reauthorization gets across the finish line: The process of attaining significant policy change, particularly in Congress, tends to be incremental and iterative. The bills considered in the 2013 reauthorization attempt closely resembled those from the 2011 attempt. So, some of the language that was included in the 2013 bill will more than likely be the starting point for this year’s attempt.  The failure of the 2013 bill was in its own way, a victory for advocates who saw language they supported included in it—they moved the yardstick in a very, very long game.

Competency education: focusing on student learning

Competency education in K-12 education is garnering real interest in the halls of Congress these days and there is a clear need to ensure that we continue to do all we can to advance equity for students. Folks on all sides of the education debate can agree that we need a new paradigm for how we do accountability and assessments. (more…)

 
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