Yesterday, Texas Senate Bill 1298 was voted out of the Senate Committee on Education and will move to the full Senate for consideration. If implemented, the policies this bill creates would be a huge step forward in advancing course choice and the customization of public education for Texas students.
Last month, Texas earned an overall C- on DLN’s Digital Learning Report Card, placing it 12th in the country when measuring state policy alignment to the 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning. This bill is part of an emerging trend we’re beginning to see across the country. States are creating clearinghouses where students can access high-quality courses. This leaves the content creation in the hands of the experts: institutions of higher education, traditional public schools and teachers, private providers, and other virtual schools.
SB 1298 contains several policies that would advance the 10 Elements in Texas, creating a more friendly environment for digital learning. Most notably, it would:
- Create a course choice program. This program would create a statewide marketplace for students to customize their education to suit their needs. This would be available to all students in the state, at no cost to all students in district schools or open-enrollment charter schools.
- Uses existing funds, but uses them in a more efficient manner, expanding course options for students while ensuring they are of high quality.
- Allow flexibility for student advancement, allowing advancement to be based on content mastery instead of only looking at instructional time.
- Introduce an option for Interstate Course Reciprocity Agreements. Reciprocity agreements would lessen the burden on the state by creating a pathway for courses that have been vetted by other states to be fast-tracked for inclusion in the state course catalog.
- Retain flexibility for districts to provide funding only upon successful course completion.
To see the full post from Digital Learning Now!, click here.
About the author
Dave Myslinski serves as a Communications Specialist for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and was the State Policy Director for Digital Learning Now, focusing on digital education policies across all 50 states. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as the Education Task Force Director at the American Legislative Exchange Council, where he focused on digital learning, K-12 education reform, and higher education policies on the state level. He is a coauthor of the Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform for ALEC, and currently serves on its Education Task Force Executive Committee and is a Vice-Chair of the Digital Learning Subcommittee. Dave has previously worked on state policies relating to health care and telecommunications. He is a graduate of Rutgers University. Contact Dave at Dave@excelined.org