Yesterday Fordham released the fifth and final paper in its Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series, “Overcoming the Governance Challenge in K-12 Online Learning” by John Chubb.  After outlining the collision of digital opportunity and local control, Chubb outlines ten steps to get us to this brave new governance system:

  • Set K-12 Online-Learning Policy at the State Level
  • Create a Public Market for K-12 Online Learning
  • Provide Students the Right to Choose Online Learning Full Time
  • Provide Students the Right to Choose Online Learning Part Time
  • Authorize Statewide Online Charter Schools, Overseen by Statewide Charter Authorizers
  • License Supplementary Online Providers
  • Fund All Learning Opportunities Equally Per Pupil
  • Exempt Online and Blended Teaching from Traditional Teacher Requirements Including Certification and Class Size
  • Establish Student Learning as the Foundation of Accountability for Online Schools and Providers
  • Address Market Imperfections by Providing Abundant Information to Students, Families, Schools, and Districts
Chubb’s recommendations align pretty well with the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning from Digital Learning Now!  He agrees that student learning should be the foundation for accountability.But rather than tight controls, Chubb suggests an R&D approach.  He knowledges that we are not “in a position to say just how future schooling should be organized to best employ teachers and technology. So, policymakers are urged to create a market-based system that will promote experiment- tation and innovation—in pursuit of student learning.”
He agrees with Digital Learning Now! that online learning policy must be set at the state level, multiple providers should be authorized, and money should follow the student.
Chubb’s recommendations on quality suggest transparency and competition.  Bureaucratic imposition of quality standards (like those issued by iNACOL) make Chubb nervous.  He’s also worried about formal and informal barriers erected by school districts under the guise of ‘quality’.
On funding, Chubb suggests that policy makers “should fund all options at the same level, allow them to compete for students, and let the market reveal what savings are possible.”


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