Fall 2016 - 60497 - PA680PA - Policy Research Project
Innovation, Accountability, and Higher Education Policy
Policymakers and the general public are increasingly aware that the economic vitality and competitive position of our communities, states, and nation depends heavily on a more productive education system. We cannot meet the social and economic needs or compete in a global market merely in terms of the numbers of education credentials awarded. To meet these new and heightened demands, colleges and universities across the United States and around the world are increasingly experimenting with new approaches to educational delivery, enabled by new technologies. Yet these early experiments and their ability to scale have been hindered by regulatory barriers.
The Higher Education Act is up for Congressional reauthorization this year (although it may well stretch into next year), and once passed it most likely won't be reconsidered for another 5 to 7 years. Additionally, the 85th Texas Legislative Session will commence in January 2017 where the educational productivity and student pathways through high school, college and into career is sure to be a key area of policy interest. Therefore, there is a unique opportunity this year to alert federal and state policymakers to issues that impede educational innovation, and to ask for new experimental authority to conduct projects that will enable leading institutions to develop, test and scale innovative approaches to teaching and learning, including blended and online approaches that leverage the potential of new technologies.