Academic Freedom

Digital Learning: a Bright Spot in Education

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) yesterday released the 19th edition of its annual Report Card on American Education, where it ranks states’ education policy based on six areas: state academic standards, charter school laws, home-school regulations, private school choice programs, overall teacher quality and policies, and digital learning opportunities.

It is only the fourth annual scorecard to include digital learning opportunities as a performance metric. Drawing on data from the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s Digital Learning Now initiative, the report found 17 states reached a perfect “A” grade for digital learning performance compared to seven states receiving an “F.”

The Digital Learning Now report graded K-12 schools on ten elements. Those elements included whether schools provided access to students to online learning opportunities; whether schools could restrict students’ eligibility to participate in them; whether school districts could impose restrictions to prevent students from participating; and whether students were given enough resources to participate in high quality opportunities.

Florida and Utah placed first in the report, scoring 92 percent overall. Connecticut placed last with a score of 41 percent. Among Connecticut’s shortcomings were a failure to provide all students with equal access to digital opportunities, and a refusal to accept credits from providers based in other school districts or states.

Overall, most states are expanding digital learning opportunities with the hope of creating a more innovative approach to learning. This trend will continue in the coming years.


In Depth: Academic Freedom

Freedom of speech and inquiry are crucial in higher education. Universities exist to educate students and pursue knowledge. As a “marketplace of ideas,” the university offers a forum for ideas to compete. This intellectual competition produces a level of academic rigor that is impossible to produce without freedom of speech …

+ Academic Freedom In Depth