I don’t think you’ll see me writing much more for the blog this year. Can you believe it’s almost 2012? Well, just in case this is the last post of the calendar year, I wanted to make sure it’s an important one. Looking at the growing world of digital learning certainly qualifies. Basically, I’m past due in telling you about a great new publication my Education Policy Center friends have created for parents: Choosing a Colorado Online School for Your Child by Ella Peterson and Pam Benigno.
Along with our fantastic School Choice for Kids website, this is definitely something you’ll want to know about for 2012, if you are at all interested in looking for a new public school for your child here in the great Centennial State. Many school district open enrollment periods really get rolling in January. This kind of guide can be very valuable if you think the cyberschool option might be right for your family.
Shortly thereafter comes the first-ever national Digital Learning Day on February 1. Colorado is one of at least 27 states to have signed on as a partner to this effort. Participating in Digital Learning Day is something I definitely look forward to!
…Eleven years ago, Michigan became one of the first states to open a statewide virtual school. This year, the Michigan Virtual School facilitated around 18,000 course enrollments to middle and high school students, giving more children access to advanced and specialized courses.
The state additionally offers several multidistrict and numerous single-district virtual programs, according to a report on virtual learning by Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
And starting in 2010, Michigan opened two full-time virtual charter schools — a result of legislation passed in late 2009 to bolster the state’s chances of winning money from the federal Education Department’s Race to the Top program. [emphasis added]
Yes, this is the same Michael Van Beek who I have cited in writing about transparent union negotiations, taxpayer-funded union release time (where have we heard about that recently?), public school open enrollment and teacher performance pay. Sounds like he covers a lot of the same ground as my Education Policy Center friends, huh?
Speaking of which (in addition to the new publication and the February 1 celebration) 2012 also will kick off with my friends pushing forward in the fight to break down Colorado policy barriers that limit effective online and blended learning opportunities. One key example that Van Beek mentions in the same column for Michigan would also apply to our state — namely, that “the Legislature remove seat-time requirements and instead reward schools based on student mastery of a subject.”
Sure, maybe we can take a break now so we can unwrap the presents from Santa and spend a little extra time playing in the snow. But we need to be prepared to come back next year to take part in this important work!