The burden of education policy largely falls upon states that adopt academic standards, establish teacher evaluation systems, develop accountability systems, and shape funding streams. State policymakers play a critical role in accelerating the adoption of different approaches to teaching and learning, designing school and class structures, and improving student outcomes. Changes in public policy can have a dramatic impact upon the spectrum of delivery of instruction, student outcomes, and the pace of innovation.
State policy can either remove barriers to innovative approaches or it can stifle them with restrictions, red tape, and reinforcement of traditional, unsustainable approaches. It can either accelerate reform or it can further entrench the status quo. Without changing state policy, innovation will fail to be scalable. Pilot programs and proof point projects will generate flashes of interest, but will not be able to disrupt a system that is protected by legacy regulations that guide the structure, funding, and decision-making within education.
Digital Learning Now! created the Digital Learning Report Card to evaluate each state's progress in advancing reforms aligned to the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning. The intent is to provide an annual summary of state laws and policies to better understand what states are doing to create a policy ecosystem that embraces new education models, promotes the use of technology to meet the needs of all children, and breaks down the barriers that constrain student-centric innovation. The Report Card is also intended to drive discussion and debate around the best approach states can use in their unique circumstances to leverage technology to improve student outcomes. By building awareness, Digital Learning Now! hopes to mobilize parents, students, teachers, school leaders, education entrepreneurs, other education reform leaders, and policymakers behind the spirit of the 10 Elements and demand progress for their students.