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Try This: 10 Things Every State Should Do Now

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A state chief asked for a list of things that his state should try. With help from Eric Smith of Chiefs for Change, here's a list of the top 10 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 systems, 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 (see Louisiana students gained online options, and 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 (see Pathbrite 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.)

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