Putting Cutting Edge Education Policy into Practice

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., Sept. 23, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released Policy, Pilots and the Path to Competency-Based Education: A Tale of Three States. This comprehensive policy paper outlines how and why Idaho, Utah and Florida launched competency-based education (CBE) pilot programs. Building the foundation for personalized learning, CBE is an innovative education model where students advance to higher levels of learning when they demonstrate mastery of concepts and skills regardless of time, place or pace.

“The competency-based education model is the very definition of a cutting edge movement that promises to reshape the way we approach education for this and future generations of students. We have long had the desire to personalize education for each child, and competency-based education creates a foundation schools can build upon to meet students where they are,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. “By shifting the focus to the demonstration of mastery, learning becomes the constant and time the variable. Idaho, Utah and Florida have taken this bold step for its students and families to customize and transform education for the 21st Century.”

“A Tale of Three States” highlights how and why state pilot programs provide a reasonable and actionable first step for state policymakers seeking to advance competency-based education. In sharing the stories of three states travelling different paths toward the same goal, this report seeks to inspire other states to innovate. Included in the report are recommendations for gaining authorization to pilot competency-based programs as well as communication strategies to support these efforts.

“A competency-based education program is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It empowers innovative educators to implement locally-driven approaches that ensures their students master content before moving forward,” said Karla Phillips, Competency-Based Education Policy Director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. “Idaho, Utah and Florida have authorized pilot programs that will allow educators to be creative and design classes, schedules and staffing configurations that best meet their students’ individual needs.”

State highlights include:

  • In April 2016, the Idaho Department of Education selected 19 regionally diverse schools to develop unique approaches to pilot mastery education in the state. Education leaders are taking a student-centered, local approach to chart a path to implementation.
  • Right now in Utah, schools are applying for grants to pilot a competency-based education program, where teachers and principals will have the opportunity to better customize their students’ education, empowering them to plan, implement and scale their own approaches at the local level.
  • Two local school districts in Florida committed to transitioning to competency-based education. Through a new pilot program, more school districts now have the same opportunity.

Visit ExcelinEd.org/CBE, for more information and to read the brief or full paper.

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