Former Govs. Prod States on Digital Education

By Michele McNeil & Christina A. Samuels — August 18, 2010 | Corrected: February 21, 2019 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Corrected: An earlier version of this story misidentified U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education James H. Shelton’s relationship with the Digital Learning Council. He is a liaison to the group.

Two former governors of Florida and West Virginia with longstanding interests in education policy have unveiled an effort intended to encourage states to more deeply weave current and future technology innovations into public education.

In a press release last week, Jeb Bush and Bob Wise said that the newly formed Digital Learning Council would move digital learning to the forefront of education and away from the “niche role” they believe digital learning plays today.

The 50-member council includes John D. Couch, vice president of education at Apple Inc.; Shafeen Charania, director of education product group marketing for Microsoft; Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators in Arlington, Va.; state officials; and scholars at education think tanks. U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education James H. Shelton, who heads the office of innovation and improvement, is a liaison to the council.

The plan is to create a set of best practices that would cover a range of digital-learning issues, including: online and virtual schools, classroom technology, equity, security and privacy, and digital content.

The council plans to do its work in two phases. It will develop the list of best practices for digital education by November or December, and in the second phase, encourage states to adopt them. The process is intended to be similar to that of the Data Quality Campaign, a foundation-funded group based in Washington focused on improving the collection, availability, and use of high quality education data.

According to the new group, more than 2 million K-12 students take courses online, and 1.5 million home-education students take online courses, “but that barely scratches the surface of what is possible through technology.”

“The members of the Digital Learning Council share a sense of extreme urgency about the need to bring digital learning to every school, every classroom, and every child,” said Mr. Wise in a statement.

Mr. Wise said the move to create digital-learning standards is urgent because of teacher retirements, declining state revenues, and an education pipeline that’s not near President Obama’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

In an interview with Education Week, Mr. Bush said digital technology’s “disruptive nature for good has not been applied to our education system. If you look at how technology has improved our lives, it has only been an accessory in education.” The blueprint created by the Digital Learning Council “will move us towards a more customized learning environment where more students learn at their maximum pace.”

Mr. Bush said that the group is nonpartisan.

“My hope is we aren’t going to advance any particular agenda,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the August 25, 2010 edition of Education Week as States’ Digital Education Priorities Targeted by New Advocacy Group


Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Tech Is Everywhere. But Is It Making Schools Better?
Join us for a lively discussion about the ways that technology is being used to improve schools and how it is falling short.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States Every State Now Lets Schools Measure Students' Success Based on Mastery, Not Seat Time
Wyoming became the final state to adopt competency-based education policies when it approved a new pilot program in April.
8 min read
Image of a man climbing toward a goal.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock /Getty<br/>
States More States Consider Partisan School Board Races as Education Debates Intensify
Most states don't allow party labels in school board races. With education debates cleaving down party lines, there's a push to change that.
5 min read
Photo of U.S. flag in classroom.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
States Opinion A Bipartisan Agenda for Schools Is Absolutely Possible
A set of opportunity-to-learn principles can guide policymakers, write a current Iowa state senator and a former Arkansas state senator.
Joyce Elliott & Amy Sinclair
3 min read
Illustration of students and hands.
Robert Neubecker for Education Week
States Opinion Nine Guiding Principles to Advance Public Education
The Opportunity to Learn principles offer a road map for education stakeholders to reenvision public education through shared values and approaches.
1 min read
Illustration of school and government buildings with girl
F. Sheehan for Education Week / Getty