17th 2011
Spreading Carpe Diem-Like Learning Success Requires Colorado Policy Changes

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Online Schools & Public Charter Schools & Research & School Choice & School Finance & State Legislature

Back in April I brought your attention to Arizona’s cutting-edge, outstanding-results “blended learning” charter known as Carpe Diem. While you might have found my post and Ben DeGrow’s School Reform News feature story interesting, this 9-minute marketing video really brings it home:

Carpe Diem Marketing Video – Final Cut from Nicholas Tucker on Vimeo.

Let’s be honest: Carpe Diem’s success didn’t happen overnight. It has taken plenty of careful design, hard work, skill and dedication. But it’s all definitely worthwhile when you ponder the results. With comparable student demographics, the stats that jump out of the video are the 92 percent academic proficiency the school has attained (vs. 57% local and 65% state averages, respectively) while spending thousands of dollars less per student than in the nation or Arizona.

Carpe Diem founder and executive director Rick Ogston wraps up the video with this compelling conclusion:

So we can scale this and replicate this around the state and around the country. A good education that leverages whatever a student needs to succeed needs to be available for all students. As you can see, Carpe Diem is working. And now it’s your turn to seize the day.

Now we’re not talking about making Carpe Diem cookie-cutters all over the USA. Blended learning is on the rise here in Colorado, but nothing that really follows all the major successful elements of Carpe Diem. At least not yet. Why not? Part of the problem is a set of antiquated state policies that dictate school inputs over outcomes.

Following in the wake of the groundbreaking recommendations from the national Digital Learning Council is the new Innosight Institute report Moving from Inputs to Outputs to Outcomes. Co-authors Michael Horn and Katherine Mackey lay out a series of essential policy changes to make possible more Carpe Diem schools and other productive and effective blended learning innovations:

  • Pay online providers not just for serving children, but also for student performance.
  • Reward not just for output-based performance—as in, when a student completes a course—but for real learning outcomes independently verified.
  • Reward operators for individual student growth that takes into account formative and summative assessments.
  • Allow students to demonstrate competency through assessments, portfolios, or other means anytime they complete a course, not just at limited fixed times throughout the year.
  • Eliminate input-based rules, such as student-to-teacher-ratios, seat-time, and teacher- certification requirements.
  • Give school operators control over their budgets and allow them to have significantly more freedom in how they allocate dollars.
  • Ensure the proper infrastructure—Internet access and Internet-access devices—is in place.

The full Innosight Institute report with more specific examples and documentation is available here (PDF). Like running the successful schools themselves, getting there is neither easy nor simple. But these elements at least are top education priorities for Colorado policy makers in the near future? Right? I certainly hope so.


5 Responses to “Spreading Carpe Diem-Like Learning Success Requires Colorado Policy Changes”

  1. This Week @DonnellKay: Blended Learning Pow Wow, Lots of Links and Follow #edcolo « donnellkay on 17 Jun 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    [...] Ed is Watching: Spreading Carpe Diem-like success requires Colorado policy change [...]

  2. Ed is Watching » Effective Colorado Online K-12 Education? Change Policies Without More Regulation on 17 Oct 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    [...] officials need to consider the success of programs that effectively blend traditional and online instruction. After all, while we raise the bar and demand quality educational results, we need to be looking to [...]

  3. Ed is Watching » Wall St. Journal, Larry Sand Shine Light on Digital Learning’s Growth & Potential on 15 Nov 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    [...] (again) from the Innosight Institute, or watch a feature about one of its most stellar examples: Arizona’s Carpe Diem charter school. There is significant potential for growth in this area in Colorado, provided the policies are in [...]

  4. Ed is Watching » Change the Blended Learning Categories, Just Don’t Call Me Late for Dinner! on 12 May 2012 at 10:33 am #

    [...] Individual Rotation (Carpe Diem Schools) [...]

  5. Ed is Watching » “All Aboard” with Blended Learning and My Future “Learning Engineer” Career on 23 Jan 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    [...] me, the highlight of the article is yet another close look taken at Arizona’s Carpe Diem charter school. Founder Rick Ogston explains how the school rebooted and takes a whole different approach, with [...]

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply