Districts Shifting to Competency Education

On July 16, AYPF hosted Promising Practices and Considerations for Districts in Competency-Based Education, a super interesting session featuring Linda Laughlin from RSU 18 in Maine and Tom Rooney from Lindsay Unified in California sharing some useful information about how their districts made the shift from a time-based system to a competency-based system. In addition to the district administrators, Matthew Lewis and Jennifer Steele from RAND Corporation highlighted some policy changes that states and districts should consider as they transition to competency education. Continue reading


Re-evaluating the Carnegie Unit

Given KnowledgeWorks interest in competency education, this report is especially interesting given that Category 1 and Category 2 are practices most consistent with states moving towards a competency model. Only one state, New Hampshire, is rated in Category 1, abolishing seat time all together. 29 states are ranked in Category 2, offering credit based on competency or seat time. These two states clearly show that there are a lot of states exploring, or beginning, the move toward a competency-based education system. Continue reading


Innovation Spotlight: Kentucky’s Districts of Innovation

Thanks to landmark legislation enacted in 2012 (House Bill 37), every district in Kentucky had the opportunity to apply to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to become a District of Innovation. The legislation, which was modeled after charter school laws in other states, promised districts relief from a number of regulatory and legislative barriers in exchange for an innovative proposal to reimagine teaching and learning. Continue reading


A bold approach: Banking on Straight A Fund to transform Ohio education

Ohio is about to embark on one of the most innovative education initiatives in the country, boosted by revenues from casino gaming and a free-market oriented executive office that is rightly calling for investments where they count the most.

The Ohio General Assembly has approved a proposal from Gov. John Kasich to designate $250 million over two years for grants to help K-12 education entities in Ohio fund projects that “aim to achieve significant advancement” in one or more of the following goals: student achievement, spending reductions, and using a greater share of resources in the classroom. Continue reading


Re-Inventing Schools Coalition

RISC is a, “nonprofit foundation established to transform education systems around the world and produce dramatically improved learning environments and achievement results for all children.” RISC’s approach to schooling is dramatically shifting the education process. Continue reading


Obama visit to Manor shows important link between education, economy

When President Barack Obama visited Manor New Technology High School near Austin, Texas, earlier this month, he saw the successful offspring of pedagogy, public policy, and free enterprise.

He saw students excited and engaged in their learning, teachers creatively developing real-world projects, and technology seamlessly incorporated in the classroom. Schools like Manor New Tech fuse student learning to the local workforce system to create relevance and linkages to economic drivers as well as alignment to institutions of higher education to provide college credit for students while they are still in high school. Continue reading


Education’s Monopoly

While my table was working on the future of K-12 education during the University of Houston’s Certificate in Strategic Foresight program, another table was working on the future of higher education. They forecast that higher education will move toward an à la carte system where students partake of what they need to gain employment and pursue other aims.

In commenting on that scenario in the context of formulating a strategic plan, one of the instructors, Peter Bishop, commented that education has a monopoly not on learning but on credentialing. That observation rang true and put a fine point on the crisis that higher education might be facing – and which K-12 education could face too. Continue reading


Education innovation looks a lot like Manor, others

It is remarkable what a little money and encouragement can do. Before Samsung, that school district was broker than a third-tier country singer with laryngitis. Its achievement measures were in the dumper. This project has paid off big time. Continue reading


The Emerging Federal Role for Competency Education

KnowledgeWorks’ sheds light on this challenge in our first competency education policy brief released today: An Emerging Federal Role for Competency Education. The goals of this publication are to not only familiarize policymakers with the paradigm shift happening in K-12 schools across the country, but to also bring to the forefront the fact that federal law makes it challenging for a state, district, or school to pursue this approach Continue reading