District and school leaders constantly tell me that there is very little in federal and state policy that prevents them from implementing the most important elements of competency education…even in a policy context dominated by the Carnegie unit. They also emphasize that if state policy was more aligned with competency education and student learning they would be able to do so much more and see much greater achievement gains.
We’ve tried to capture what states are doing in aligning the policy infrastructure in the just-released Necessary for Success: Building Mastery of World-Class Skills – A State Policymakers Guide to Competency Education.
One of the most interesting a-ha’s in researching, interviewing and writing the paper was that when we are talking about policy its not just passing major legislation. It’s as much a process of creating a culture of learning from the top-down and the ground up, opening up innovation space, providing support systems for educators to learn from each other and apply their learning in their districts and schools, and then reworking critical policies such as graduation requirements (competencies, not time-based credits), flexibility in the use of time (years to graduation, yearly and daily school schedules, embedded supports), and redesigning assessments and accountability systems to meet the needs of students, not policymakers.
We are working to enhance the wiki so that it is easy for advocates and policymakers to access examples and strategies being used by states. We would deeply appreciate it if you could send us any information about how your state is aligning policies so that we can make sure that we have the best information available. Yep, that’s crowd-sourcing for educational transformation. It will make a huge difference.