10 biggest K-12 developments of 2010

Despite lagging state budgets, 2010 will be a year of great progress in American education.  Here’s the 10 biggest developments of the year ahead:

  1. Race to the Top awards will be made in two phases to about 18 states and will set the standard for excellence in state policy.  About 30 states will make significant policy changes in preparation for application or after being rejected.
  2. Common Core will be adopted by almost everyone except the Republic of Texas and will lay the groundwork for a new generation of content and assessment
  3. While not likely to pass in 2010, a framework for ESEA (that looks a lot like RttT) will emerge with an improved accountability and student support system
  4. i3 grants will go to about 75 awardees and a dozen will do important work
  5. School Improvement Grants, in concert with RttT, will be the largest ever attempt at addressing chronic school failure
  6. The combination of RttT, charter growth, and Gates Foundation deep dives will result in the dawn of a new employment bargain focused on performance
  7. The National EdTech plan will signal a shift in focus from access to achievement
  8. Online learning will serve 5% of US students, hold out states will join the party, and lots of adaptive content will be introduced
  9. A generation of blended schools that combine the best of online learning with onsite support will be launched and will show how to do more with less
  10. A couple platforms that combine social learning, content, and services will achieve scale

A lot of this progress will be enabled by a talented, aggressive, and well-funded Department of Education—something we can all be thankful for.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Nikki Navta

Can you elaborate on #10? I'm looking for an online platform for curriculum delivery of a few specialized courses, and am underwhelmed by what I'm finding.

Lea of Private Schools Palm Beach

That would be great if the said 10 developments on American education will come true.


Hi -- Can people out there recommend any good models emerging or recommended for #9 (e.g. blended schools offering a combination of online and on-site learning)? And who is doing this well now?


Tom Vander Ark

Not many to see today. There are quite a few tech rich schools but I think of blended as 1) school where a portion of delivery is shifted online and 2) it's done with the intention of improving learning, staffing and or facilities productivity.
Rocketship, San Jose, has blended elementary schools with strong results.
You'll see a half a dozen interesting blended models in September.

Matthew Ladner

A hybrid technology/traditional charter school has posted the largest value added gains in Arizona:


Tom Vander Ark

Thanks for the link; have heard of but haven't visited this school

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