Not Pretty: Colorado Is Getting Caught in Other States' Digital Learning Dust

A year ago I was just trying to figure out how to send Colorado home with its own digital learning report card. A year ago I was 5. Nearly 52 weeks later, and no progress on either front.

But our state did move up a small tick on the 2013 Digital Learning Now national report card. Last year’s D-plus has turned into a C-minus. I mean, Colorado literally climbed from 69 to 70 on the 100-point scale. Not exactly something to write home about, I know. But hey, you’ve got to mention the progress you can find.

Out of the 10 categories, Colorado brought home two A grades and four Fs (doesn’t stand for fantastic or fabulous). We actually went backwards in the key areas of providing students access to high-quality digital content, allowing students to advance based on competency, and infrastructure that supports digital learning.

Frankly, I find the result frustrating. While Colorado stagnates at best, the rest of the country is making up ground. In 2012 we outperformed the national average in 8 of 10 areas. Now we’re down to 6. We rank a mediocre 23rd among the states.

It’s not like we’re lacking insights on how to improve the situation. Among several others, my Education Policy Center friends have produced and distributed a Digital Learning Policy Road Map for Colorado, and continue to promote the idea of course-level funding. We cheer for the blended learning innovations on the rise, but the environment just isn’t where it needs to be.

Come on, Colorado, let’s not choke on other states’ digital learning dust. As that happens, I won’t be trying to figure out how to deliver this report card. I may be so embarrassed that I find a way to make sure it gets lost in the mail.