Establish a Priority for Federal Grants Focused on Personalized Learning

Published:
Topics: Education Policy

The Trump Administration can invest in high-quality personalized learning systems by making grant programs focused on personalized learning a priority. KnowledgeWorks recently released our presidential transition memo, Embracing the Opportunity: Recommendations for Scaling Personalized Learning Under a New Presidential Administration. In the memo, we offer a set of recommendations for the new administration on how to create high-quality, personalized learning environments that ensure every learner is successful and prepared for their future with college, career, and civic life.

A national movement focused on creating flexible, customized education systems is gaining ground. Our experience meeting and spending time with some of the top practitioners in that movement has led to our focus on personalized learning organizationally. In fact, our definition of personalized learning, one that we recommend the new administration use moving forward, emerged from extensive research we performed with schools, districts, and states implementing personalized learning. That definition is as follows.

Personalized learning requires:

  • Instruction that is aligned to rigorous college-and career-ready standards and the social and emotional skills students need to be successful in college and career.
  • Instruction that is individualized, allowing each student to design learning experiences aligned to his or her interests.
  • The pace of instruction to vary based on individual student needs allowing students to accelerate or take additional time based on their level of mastery.
  • Educators to use data from formative assessments and student feedback in real time to differentiate instruction and provide robust supports and interventions so every student remains on track to graduation.
  • Students to have access to clear, transferable learning objectives so they understand what is expected for mastery and advancement.

A dedicated investment in personalized learning shows commitment to closing achievement gaps and ensuring all students succeed. The new Administration can invest in and expand high-quality personalized learning systems by establishing a priority for discretionary grant programs focused on personalized learning as defined above. Discretionary programs, or competitive grant programs, encourage states, regions, and communities to work together to develop a compelling vision and sustainable strategy for education.

Dedicated funding for personalized learning will help communities mobilize around a shared strategy, with the potential to radically improve the long-term effectiveness of our education system. It will also help districts invest in the start-up tools and training to establish personalized learning, such as developing comprehensive data systems that provide students, teachers, and parents access to real-time data that track multiple indicators and encourage appropriate supports for student success.

It is important for the federal government to support districts and states that are serious about scaling personalized learning with grants that help establish a sustainable model for education. These innovators are building a compelling vision for reform, but continue to struggle with the start-up costs to bring their vision to reality. Discretionary funding dedicated to personalized learning can help ease these barriers and allow for truly sustainable education transformation.

KnowledgeWorks' transition memo to the new Presidential Administration, "Embracing the Opportunity: Recommendations for Scaling Personalized Learning Under a New Presidential Administration." In our transition memo to the new Presidential Administration, Embracing the Opportunity: Recommendations for Scaling Personalized Learning Under a New Presidential Administration, we offer a set of recommendations for leveraging national momentum to create a flexible, customized education system where every learner succeeds. Read the complete memo to learn more.