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Aurora Institute

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

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Maria Worthen, Susan Gentz

Issue(s): Federal Policy, Create Space to Pilot Systems of Assessments, State Policy, Create Enabling Conditions for Competency-Based Education

Happy New Year! 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 Membership Forum. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides issue, background and recommendations for policy and more information on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.

State Policy Highlights

  • Eleven state legislatures convened this week: Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill directing the Commissioner to establish an online learning advisory committee to make recommendations on establishing a statewide online and blended learning program.
  • A Utah bill would provide for grants to local education agencies to purchase digital content and hardware, to provide professional development for educators, and to improve internal school Internet connections.
  • A Virginia bill would create a Virginia Public School Improvement Program to support “creative school reform initiatives” to improve the academic achievement of the lowest performing students. The program would include elements such as personalized instruction, alternative accountability and assessment frameworks, and increased use of technology in education and assessment.
  • Another bill in the Virginia Senate would repeal the current A-F school grading system. A similar bill has also been introduced in the House.
  • In New Mexico, a new bill would allow grade promotions (in K-8) based upon student reading proficiency and provide remediation for students who are not yet ready to advance to the next grade in reading.

Federal Policy Highlight

  • As the 114th Congress convenes in Washington, D.C., chairmen of both the House and Senate education committee have announced that passing an ESEA reauthorization bill is a top priority. Stay tuned for more information about our recommendations for supporting the shift to next generation learning models in ESEA reauthorization, and for updates on the process.

Need more information?  Contact Maria Worthen ([email protected]) or Susan Gentz ([email protected]).

Already a member? Access the more detailed legislative highlights through the Membership Forum.

Not yet a member? Join iNACOL to gain access to this Membership Forum, job postings, announcements, grant opportunities, and the latest information from the field.