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Online K-12 School Leaders Discuss Policy ‘Roadmap’

Grace Hood
Glenn Moses, the Director of Blended Learning for Denver Public Schools and Judy Bauernschmidt, Director of Student Online Learning at Jeffco's 21st Century Virtual Academy, discuss upcoming policy issues for Colorado’s Online K-12 schools.

Today dozens of online K-12 school leaders gathered at an event sponsored by libertarian think-tank the Independence Institute. The goal was to build a policy ‘roadmap’ for the upcoming legislative session. Among the topics of discussion were school funding, access, accountability and student assessments.

“There’s consensus here around moving toward competency, mastery over seat time, around a different way of funding our schools,” said Amy Anderson, assistant commissioner of innovation and choice at the Colorado Department of Education. “Really looking at how to focus on the individual student and what their needs are, and how to build a system around that.”

The meeting was facilitated by Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Patrick discussed several innovative funding models that have changed how online K-12 schools operate in Utah, Florida and Minnesota.

“Last year alone 16 states passed legislation related to online learning. We’re expecting just as many this year,” she said. “It’s about access, it’s about quality and it’s about creating new learning models.”

Patrick says right now 33 states allow full-time online learning programs. 55 percent of all public school districts offer online classes or online learning programs.

Last fall some of Colorado’s full-time online schools came under scrutiny for poor student performance, high dropout rates and inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.