After nearly seven years building and advancing a K-12 federal policy agenda, KnowledgeWorks is ready to dive into the uncharted waters of federal higher education policy. Today marks the first step of this journey with the release of our inaugural set of recommendations for reauthorizing the federal Higher Education Act (HEA). Consistent with our mission to provide every learner with meaningful personalized learning experiences, these recommendations call on Congress to break down traditional barriers so all learners can access personalized pathways to a postsecondary degree.
What inspired this new focus on higher education? To be honest, it was years of wrestling with tough questions such as:
What will happen to the students in our K-12 competency-based learning environments who cannot access a learner-centered postsecondary program with the same degree of personalization?
Why aren’t students in our early college high schools (who earn up to 60 college credits and an associate’s degree) eligible for federal Pell grants like their college-age peers who complete the same courses?
How can we scale personalized learning in K-12 without a pipeline of new educators trained for success in personalized models and approaches?
The answers to many of these questions lie in the policy conversations that will dominate Capitol Hill as policymakers work to reauthorize the long overdue Higher Education Act. We hope to engage in these conversations and elevate policy solutions that address three critical goals.
Increase college enrollment and persistence by incentivizing effective transitions between K–12 and higher education.
Support personalized learning pathways toward a postsecondary credential by making the federal financial aid system more flexible.
Prepare K-12 educator candidates to take on new teaching roles in personalized learning environments.
Our HEA recommendations offer specific policy ideas for each of these goals in an effort to advance national conversation on these important topics. We see this as a starting place, and hope to engage diverse stakeholders at all levels of the education system to strengthen and refine these ideas into a solid policy framework that will improve alignment between our nation’s K-12 and higher education systems. And most importantly, we hope these efforts give all learners the opportunity to pursue seamless, personalized pathways as they advance from kindergarten to postsecondary success.