Boosting College and Career Readiness through Course Access

Federal & National Policy, Leadership

Team Getting Smart is excited to be reporting live from (rainy) Denver, Colorado at the National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE15) presented by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd). The Summit has been ExcelinEd’s flagship initiative and continues to be the leading education policy event annually. We’ll be hearing from lawmakers, policymakers and advocates this week on topics like data privacy, education innovation and course access. Keynote speakers include Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Sugata Mitra, and Dr. Arthur C. Brooks.

One of the driving forces and recurring themes at EIE every year is the emphasis on expanding every student’s access to high-quality learning opportunities – regardless of his/her zip code, background or circumstances. An exciting policy approach that is succeeding at accomplishing this across the country is called Course Access.

Moderated by ExcelinEd State Policy Director for College and Career Readiness Lowell Matthews, The Perfect Match: Course Access & College and Career Readiness session gave attendees a look at the benefits of Course Access policies from a diverse range of panelists offering perspectives from the district to state level to employers and policymakers:

  • Alvin Bargas, President, Pelican Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.
  • Arthur Coleman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, EducationCounsel LLC
  • Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Superintendent, Orange County Public Schools, Florida
  • Dave Lefkowith, Assistant Superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education

As the panelists confirmed, Course Access policies can open up students at all academic levels to opportunities like Advanced Placement and Credentials that have typically been out of reach. Overall Course Access can also boost College and Career Readiness, as an upcoming series of videos from ExcelinEd will feature.

The panelists wholeheartedly agreed and rallied a packed room around the national potential of Course Access policies and offered excellent advice to policymakers and influencers in attendance who are eager to implement these policies in their home states.

However, as Coleman cautioned, there is work to be done to realize the full potential. This includes a “non-negotiable core” that is essential for success at scale in order to live up to the promise of Course Access:

  • Fulfilling an authentic interest in access and ensuring equity for all students;
  • Ensuring quality/rigor content, instruction and support; and
  • Establishing a budget regime that works for all stakeholders.

Learn More about Course Access from these session resources:

For more on the @ExcelinEd National Summit on Education Reform visit the #EIE15 hashtag on Twitter.
ExcelinEd is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.

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