Colorado Digital Learning Policies Middle of the Pack with Room for Great Improvement

Yesterday I let you know about Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno’s published response to Colorado’s K-12 controversy of the month concerning online education programs. One of the great aspects of her piece was the focus on effective student-centered policy solutions. She directly suggested changes to how students are counted and funded — whether a student spends all, some or none of their course time online.

To keep the conversation moving forward about ways for Colorado to improve, I recommend the Nation’s Digital Learning Report Card, a new and one-of-a-kind web tool to grade states on how well they’re doing putting into place the Ten Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning. The Report Card allows the feature of clicking on individual states for a breakdown of their scores, including comparisons with up to two other states.

At that point, do you think my Education Policy Center friends could just leave it alone? No, they had to go and compare how Colorado is doing on the Report Card’s 72 metrics with nine neighboring or other regional states. The metrics include everything from student access to digital learning, the opportunity to customize education, quality instruction, quality program choices, as well as funding and assessment systems that support them.

The results? The Centennial State has achieved less than half (33) of the metrics. Not terrible, but far from satisfying. After all, digital learning is a work in progress, and even the best states so far have a way to go. Speaking of best states, Utah and Wyoming lead the way regionally (and maybe nationally) at 49, with Arizona and Idaho not far behind. Texas is slightly ahead of Colorado, while Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico trail very closely. When it comes to digital learning, the “glass half full” approach would allow us to say: “At least we’re not Nebraska,” which registered a 16 out of 72.

Nonetheless, Colorado policy makers looking for some key changes that need to be made in education can find plenty of opportunities by studying our Digital Learning Report Card.