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.