As my colleague Lillian Pace wrote in a previous post, “the new Administration has an incredible opportunity to leverage as it considers a strategy for transforming the nation’s K-12 and higher education systems.”
One of the key challenges in transforming the nation’s education system is scaling best practices. As we noted in our State Policy Framework for Scaling Personalized Learning, innovative learning environments, broadly speaking, are stuck in pilot phase, providing great learning opportunities for “those students” in “that classroom” with “that teacher.” In order to truly transform our system, we must move student-centered learning beyond the pilot phase. The Trump Administration can facilitate this by offering state and local education systems the flexibility to innovate and the resources to pursue their vision of personalized learning while providing the national leadership to help them replicate effective strategies at scale.
Any federal strategy for scaling personalized learning should include the following components: assessment, accountability, school improvement, the educator workforce, extended learning opportunities, and research and development. As states begin to development their plans to implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act, the new Administration should help states leverage the significant flexibility across the law to pursue their vision of personalized learning for every student. Specifically, the Administration should issue non-regulatory guidance on the following topics:
Cross-cutting Guidance on Building Personalized Learning Systems. States and districts can benefit from guidance on how to leverage flexibility in ESSA around accountability, assessment, teacher credentials, and title funding to build personalized learning systems.
Strategies for Leveraging the Direct Student Services Opportunity to Support At-Risk Students. States can benefit from guidance on how to use the optional direct student services reservation to expand access to rigorous, personalized learning experiences for at-risk students.
Guidance on Early College High School and Dual and Concurrent Enrollment Provisions. States and districts can benefit from guidance on how to leverage flexibility across ESSA to increase student access to high quality early college high school and dual and concurrent enrollment programs including through accountability and reporting, access to federal funding, and professional development.
KnowledgeWorks stands ready to work with the new Administration to assist states and districts working towards their vision of high quality, personalized learning experiences that result in every student thriving in college, career, and civic life.