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Aurora Institute

Center for Policy

The Aurora Institute provides policy expertise, issue analysis and technical assistance with a focus on advancing innovations in education to dramatically improve student learning. We are a strong advocate promoting excellence and equity for all students, especially student groups most underserved by traditional one-size-fits-all models and systems.

State Policy Priorities for K-12 Education Innovation

Transform Education Systems

  • Redefine student success through a Profile of a Graduate to create a vision to modernize and redefine more holistic graduation requirements based on what students need to know and be able to do for future success.
  • Create Innovation Zones to provide flexibility for schools and districts to advance transformative practices and move to innovative, student-centered learning models.

Create Competency-Based Education Systems & Align Pathways

Build Capacity by Investing in People

Rethink Accountability & Assessment

Federal Policy Priorities

Prepare Educator-Leaders for the Future

Increase Access and Affordability to Diversify Educator Talent Pools

Expand the Innovative Assessment Pilot

Increase Equity in Broadband Connectivity

A National Snapshot of K-12 Competency-Based Education State Policy Across the U.S.

This map provides a national snapshot of state policies across the United States to enable and advance K-12 competency-based education systems (CBE). Across the country, the landscape of policy is changing. Every year more states establish pilots, innovation zones, and new initiatives. Most of the states with seat-time policies that acted as barriers have found new ways of allowing waivers or credit flexibility for CBE.

Advanced States

States with clear policies in support of competency-based education and established roles in building educator capacity in local systems for competency-based education.

Developing States

States with pilots for competency-based education, and/or credit flexibility policies for school districts to transition to competency education.

Emerging States

States getting started with task forces; some state policy flexibility requiring waivers for systems to shift to competency-based education.

No Active Policy in CBE

States policies focus on seat-time credits without competency-based pathways.

Our Policy Goals

The Center for Policy works to educate federal, congressional and state education policy leaders on K-12 education programs and issues to advocate a future-focused, student-centered position on diverse issues affecting our education systems toward transformation.

Our Policy Priorities

Each year the Aurora Institute develops policy priorities to advance modern education systems that prepare all graduates to thrive.

Federal Policy Priorities State Policy Priorities

2020 National Policy Forum

Held annually as a precursor to the Aurora Institute Symposium, the National Policy Forum convenes more than 100 education policymakers and system leaders. This year’s virtual event on November 13, 2020, included a national overview of state policies to advance education innovation, a series of state snapshots highlighting bellwether exemplars, and three presentations on key issues from national leaders.


Our education leaders need: Courage and a will to change. Knowledge and skills to lead. Creativity to design education innovations.

Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute

Meet Our Policy Team

For Policymakers
Contact one of our policy experts for more information and technical assistance.

Susan Patrick

Chief Executive Officer

Fred Jones

Policy Director

Meet Our Policy Team

For Policymakers
Contact one of our policy experts for more information and technical assistance.

Alexis Chambers

Policy Associate