School & District Management Opinion

Try This: 10 Things Every State Should Do Now

By Tom Vander Ark — October 23, 2013 1 min read
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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

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

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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The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.