Competency Education State by State

Competency education, and the policies supporting its growth in K-12 education, continues to advance in states around the country. For those not familiar with competency education, here is a working definition of the concept from iNACOL and CCSSO: Students advance Continue reading


Putting Scholars at the Center

For the past several years, we’ve been referring to students as “learners” in our strategic foresight publications as one way of making the point that we need to rethink not just how, when, and where learning occurs but also what relationships exist in relation to it. As I’ve worked with education stakeholders around the country to envision their ideal future learning ecosystems, the structures and details have varied, but the designs have consistently put learners at the center.

When the staff of NC New Schools approached this task last month, one of the groups decided that “learners” didn’t go far enough in conveying the change that needs to take place. Instead, they deliberately placed “scholars” at the center of their learning ecosystem map in order to make the point that young people need to become active agents of their own learning. Continue reading


Building States’ Capacity for Transformation

At the Council of Chief State School Officers’ deputies’ meeting in July, I shared the big story of our forecast on the future of learning, Recombinant Education, as a way of situating a conversation that Education Delivery Institute was leading on building state education agencies’ capacity. The forecast served as a frame for encouraging deputies to examine their strategies and operations in the context of aspirational visions for learning in their states.

In addition to underscoring the possibility of enabling radically personalized learning that prepares every child for college or career, the conversation raised the need to manage against potential negative outcomes of future trends. As with any future forecast, it is possible with ours to draw out scenarios that we would not wish to see realized. For example, there is a plausible future in which no child with means remains enrolled in public education. T 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


Ready for What Career Exactly?

Lee Fisher put it bluntly: “STEM is not as important as critical thinking and problem solving.” He also highlighted the huge difference being choosing a major and choosing a career, noting that “those two conversations are increasingly out of sync” and going on to suggest that we might think of students’ having two majors, one focused on subjects and one focused on skills. 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


Matt Williams: Move to Competency-Based Learning

“…a more competitive, responsive educational system that not only drives attainment but economic development, our nation needs a system where students at all levels of school are proficient in content and skills and in applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating new knowledge.” Continue reading


Basketball, Backpacks and Personalized Learning

This type of data will help educators at all levels radically transform a one-size-fits-all system into a truly personalized experience for all learners. For a terrific in-depth discussion of this possibility and the current developments in this area, check out “Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles” the second paper in the DLN Smart Series that takes an in-depth look at the need to move away from traditional student records and transcripts to a mobile, digital solution that supports the shift to digital learning and Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Continue reading