The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL, has issued its congratulations to the 10 winners of the second phase of the federal Race to the Top grant competition, which my colleagues have done a great job covering over on the Politics K-12 blog. With the announcement, iNACOL has created a very useful wiki document that outlines the 19 finalists’ plans to use online learning to achieve RTT goals and includes quotes from each application that are relevant to online learning.
Most winning states outlined continuing steps to provide online professional development. iNACOL’s findings indicate that Florida, Georgia, and Ohio offered the most concrete examples of how they would improve and expand students’ online education opportunities. Florida’s application said it will be expanding programs that give preservice teachers coursework and internship experiences in online learning, something I’ll be writing more about in an upcoming special report. Georgia indicated interest in replacing traditional “seat-time” requirements both in brick-and-mortar and virtual classes with the proficiency-based standards common in online learning. And while several states indicated a desire to use RTT funds to expand online learning options, Ohio expressly indicated those efforts would concentrate on increasing AP course offerings to underserved populations.
Of the winners, the District of Columbia’s application appears to offer the least with regards to online learning. iNACOL’s analysis only said that D.C. will “connect teachers to online resources.” Of those that missed out on winning funds, Pennsylvania may have been offering the most online learning components. The state’s application indicated it would use RTT grant funds to create 12 “high-rigor” online courses over three years to be available to the state’s students as it moves toward establishing a virtual high school for students in “small, rural and low wealth school districts.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.