More states are developing innovative approaches to education
With Governor Brian Sandoval’s signature on Assembly Bill 110, Nevada joins a growing list of states focused on innovation in learning. The bill directs the Nevada Department of Education to launch a pilot program to study and establish recommendations for implementing personalized learning initiatives.
Additionally, Utah announced the school districts and charters participating in their newly created Competency-Based Education Grants Program to develop best practices for the pilot implementation phase in the 2018-19 school year.
These recent successes in personalized learning for mastery continue the momentum of work done in three states earlier in the legislative season to authorize innovation programs.
- Minnesota passed House File 2 creating an Innovation Research Zones Pilot Program. The program will allow school districts and charter schools, along with other partner organizations, to form an Innovation Zone. The goal is to allow them “to research and implement innovative education programming models,” including personalized learning and college and career partnerships.
- North Dakota created an Innovation Education Program with the passage of Senate Bill 2186. Once approved by a local school governing board, the superintendent of public instruction may accept an application to participate in the program. The proposals must demonstrate how they aim to improve the delivery or administration of education, increase educational opportunities or improve the academic success of students.
- Virginia passed House Bill 1981 to create School Divisions of Innovation. Innovation has been defined as “a new or creative alternative to existing instructional or administrative practices or school structures that evidence-based practice suggests will be effective in improving student learning and educational performance.” Innovation proposals are to be designed with the goals of improving “student learning, educational performance, and college, career and citizenship readiness skills.”
A recent ExcelinEd report noted that innovation programs across the country vary in size and scope and are typically designed to allow for a broad range of possibilities. Personalized learning, as well as college and career pathways, regularly top the list of such opportunities. College and career pathways ensure students not only graduate from high school with a meaningful diploma, but also with actual college credit or industry credentials and the skills employers need.
For more information see ExcelinEd’s report Policy, Pilots and the Path to Competency-Based Education: A National Overview detailing the growth in innovation and pilot programs as well as the types of state policies that can support school transitions.