A new report released July 18 discusses how state leaders in K-12 education are rethinking policies to allow students to advance competency-based approaches that allow any time, everywhere learning for today’s youth.‘Unfortunately, many states and school districts are still handcuffed by rigid regulations that prevent them from moving toward the student-centered, performance-based approach,’ Patrick said. ‘This report offers guidance and practical recommendations for state education policymakers.’‘We are proposing what amounts to a vital change in current methods of instruction and measurement so that students can move ahead when they demonstrate knowledge,’ said Susan Patrick, co-author of the report and president of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).Titled, Cracking the Code: Synchronizing Policy and Practice for Performance-based Learning, the report was unveiled at the Summer Institute of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in Stowe, Vermont. Co-authored by Chris Sturgis, a principal at MetisNet, the report is based on policy recommendations made by education innovators during the 2011 Competency-based Learning Summit convened by iNACOL and CCSSO earlier this year.The report recommends that states begin to transform policies from ‘rigid compliance’ to ‘enabling policies,’ by offering seat-time waivers or ‘credit flex’ policies that allow for the flexibility to offer competency-based learning in K-12 education.A ‘comprehensive policy redesign’ would require competency-based credits, personalized learning plans, information technology, professional development, and quality-control in support of individual student growth for accountability, while aligning higher education with K-12 competency-based efforts. The report also offers states a number of approaches toward tackling emerging state policy issues in order to speed the transition to a competency-based approach.Sturgis said, ‘With state leadership creating the necessary policy conditions to enable children to progress when they have mastered skills, we will finally be able to overcome the inequities of our current education system.’‘Competency-based learning is essential to a future for students in the United States to remain globally competitive, and this transformation in enabling policy must begin at the state level,’ said Patrick.The report is available at www.inacol.org(link is external).About iNACOLiNACOL is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a non-profit 501(c)(3) membership association based in the Washington, DC area with more than 3,800 members.iNACOL is unique in that its members represent a diverse cross-section of K-12 education from school districts, charter schools, state education agencies, non-profit organizations, colleges, universities and research institutions, corporate entities and other content and technology providers (www.inacol.org(link is external)). iNACOL hosts the annual Virtual School Symposium (VSS). VSS 2011 is being held Nov. 9 – 11, 2011 in Indianapolis, IN (www.virtualschoolsymposium.org(link is external)). STOWE, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–7.18.2011
Harmful particulates, toxic chemicals and smog-forming gases result from fuel burning, from primitive dung-fired cooking stoves to massive coal-burning power plants.These and other forms of pollution promote asthma, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other maladies.Premature death is only one problem.Long-term impairment before death also results in human misery and material impoverishment. Developing nations, many of which lack strong environmental enforcement, are much worse off than developed countries, the study found.Poor and middle-income nations account for 92 percent of the premature deaths globally.Pollution drives a full quarter of deaths in some lower-income countries. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post. A major study published last month in the Lancet, a British medical journal, found that there is a global killer responsible for more yearly deaths than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.Pollution.The problem is pervasive, affecting every country on the planet.It is expensive, costing the globe a whopping $4.6 trillion a year — about 6 percent of global gross domestic product — in hours not worked, premature deaths, health spending and eroded quality of life.The study associated pollution with 1 in 6 premature deaths, 9 million people in 2015.Even if the numbers are off a bit, the magnitude is striking.Air pollution is the leading culprit, linked to 6.5 million deaths, followed by water pollution, with 1.8 million. The study’s authors argue that this human toll is not the inevitable price of development, nor a problem that will simply disappear with growth; countries should not “wait for an economy to reach a magical tipping point that will solve the problems of environmental degradation and pollution-related disease,” they write. Instead, the authors insist, developing nations should look to the United States.The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and the enforcement of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, each passed in the early 1970s and updated since, resulted in dramatic reductions in harmful pollution, over a period of time in which the economy more than doubled in size.Not every pollution restriction that environmentalists dream up makes sense.But mandating relatively cheap pollution controls or, when possible, simply taxing polluters for the damage they do can result in a good value proposition for developing and developed nations alike. Poor countries struggling to pull their citizens out of abject poverty may yet find it tough to take the long view.Many Americans, including those in the Trump administration, still fail to do so. Conservative critics of environmental rules often overstate the potential costs of pollution controls and discount the benefits.The Trump administration is on this basis weakening pollution rules across the board, sending an early signal about its approach by tapping Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier, to lead the EPA.Yet the United States has hardly finished the job; the nation still sees tons of pollution pumped into the air, directly harming people and contributing to global warming.Meanwhile, the federal government has not yet addressed other forms of pollution, such as toxic chemical exposure, with needed rigor, and the Trump administration has sent negative signals about its intentions to do so. The Lancet study should remind leaders in the United States and elsewhere that, though there are costs associated with restricting pollution, countries also incur costs by failing to do so.Finding the right balance requires acknowledging both sides and weighing them carefully.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?