Try This: 10 Things Every State Should Do Now

A state chief asked for a list of things that his state should try. With help from Eric Smith, Chiefs for Change, here’s a list of the top ten list of things every state should do now:
1. Renew accreditation for licensing education professionals based on performance (seePreparing Teachers, and Preparing School Leaders);
2. Expand alternative preparation pathways especially those linked to high performing school districts/networks;
3. Support an incubator like 4.0 Schools to encourage edupreneurs;
Tools and Schools
4. Support new school grants modeled after Next Generation Learning Challenges grants (see recent feature on CityBridge and NGLC in Washington DC);
5. Encourage networks: use smart procurement to encourage adoption of one of several IT stacks including student information systems, learning management system, social learning networks, open and proprietary content, and student access devices;
6. Expand course choice options: full and part time access to online and blended options from multiple providers (seeLouisiana students gained online optionsand 10 Strategies States & Districts Can Use to Boost AP).
7. Encourage all schools to provide coding and computer science options (starting with an hour of code the week of December 10); allow substitution of computer science classes for math and science grad requirements; and support adoption of nationally recognized information technology industry certifications.
Tracking and Testing
8. Provide on-demand end of course secondary tests to promote competency-based progress;
9. Support short cycle trials of promising tools and strategies and Proposals for Better Growth Measures;
10. Give every student a digital portfolio (seePathbrite Provides E-Portfolios For All Learners;EduClipper Powers Presentation Portfolio; and Students Shine Through Digital Portfolios) with examples of anchor products linked to Common Core State Standards.
The most important thing a state chief can do is to frame compelling goals and encourage proactive planning around the shift to digital learning. (See Blended Learning Implementation Guide 2.0.)
Educause is Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.

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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