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KnowledgeWorks releases guide to help states and districts re-imagine learning under new law

ESSA offers opportunities to advance personalized education
513-929-1310
Washington, D.C.
03.17.2016

Amid sluggish education outcomes, increasing need for remedial college coursework and a prevalent job skills gap, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) marks an important point in federal education policy.

During 15 years of No Child Left Behind, education advocates became increasingly frustrated with the level of federal prescription over the vision and design of state education systems. Now, under ESSA, states and school districts have more ownership to advance innovative visions for teaching and learning.

To help state education agencies and local districts consider opportunities in the new law, today KnowledgeWorks releases “Recommendations for Advancing Personalized Learning Under the Every Student Succeeds Act,” a guide for imagining and implementing a vision of personalized learning that aligns federal, state and local policies.

 “The 391 pages of ESSA are full of opportunities to make personalized learning a reality for every student in the country,” KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of National Policy Lillian Pace said. “Stakeholders should take advantage of these opportunities to carefully consider and re-imagine systems of teaching and learning under the new law.”

The resource identifies opportunities in ESSA to advance personalized learning and offers recommendations for leveraging these opportunities to build high-quality education systems. The guide also asks questions to help state and local education stakeholders build a system that emphasizes college and career readiness, continuous improvement and equity.

“While the opportunities throughout ESSA have incredible potential to help students throughout the country, we must consider equity from the beginning,” KnowledgeWorks President and CEO Judy Peppler said. “If we don’t, there’s a risk of increased achievement gaps for traditionally underserved students. Personalized learning can help close achievement gaps by identifying individual student needs and customizing instruction to ensure every student succeeds. Equity is foundational to the success of this approach.” 

Specifically, the guide explores five areas within ESSA that states and districts should consider as they explore personalized learning: accountability, school improvement, assessment, educator workforce and extended learning opportunities. By offering specific discussion questions in a state and local context, the guide will help stakeholders think ahead to ESSA implementation.

“It’s important to start these conversations now, in preparation for high quality implementation,” Pace said. “By thinking and planning ahead, states and districts will ensure they take full advantage of the flexibilities ESSA offers.”

KnowledgeWorks also created a side-by-side resource, which compares NCLB and ESSA through a personalized learning lens. For more information on either resource, contact Mary Kenkel at 513-929-1310 or kenkelm@knowledgeworks.org.

About KnowledgeWorks 

KnowledgeWorks is a social enterprise focused on ensuring that every student experiences meaningful personalized learning that allows him or her to thrive in college, career and civic life. By offering a portfolio of innovative education approaches and advancing aligned policies, KnowledgeWorks seeks to activate and develop the capacity of communities and educators to build and sustain vibrant learning ecosystems that allow each student to thrive. Our on-the-ground work includes partnership with schools through competency education and EDWorks early college high schools, as well as with communities through StriveTogether.

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