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Aurora Institute

Make Personalized Learning a Priority in Federal and State Grants

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Susan Gentz

Issue(s): State Policy

Federal policy can play an important role in enabling and Little Indian girl using a laptop on table, isolated on white backgroundscaling up successful new learning models. By prioritizing personalized learning through federal grants and programs and removing unnecessary restrictions on new learning models, the federal government can help to catalyze the development of new learning models and scale promising student-centered approaches.

In a recent blog titled, “Paying for Personalized Learning In The ESSA World: What States & Districts Need to Know,” Doug Mesecar wrote about new opportunities in the law to fund personalized and blended learning: “The Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program contains the opportunity for states and districts to fulfill the flexibility provided by the overall structure of the bill, as well as harness the emerging potential of blended learning.”

It is important that federal grants prioritize personalized, competency-based learning. Student-centered learning should start with the schools and districts planning, designing and implementing powerful, personalized learning models to respond to each student’s needs. States must also support the shift in education by building capacity (for example, creating innovation zones, providing needed tools as well as offering innovative professional development for educators). Supporting local educators who are innovating is an important role both the federal and state governments can play in supporting local districts and schools by making personalized learning a priority throughout programs and grants.

Learn more: iNACOL Federal Policy Frameworks 2015, and A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change.

Policy recommendations:

  • Prioritize personalized and competency-based learning in education grant programs.
  • Enable personalized and competency-based learning in regulation and policy.

To learn more: