Policy Documents

The Leaflet: Moving Toward the Future of Education: Blended Learning

May 15, 2014


Moving Toward the Future of Education: Blended Learning
 

Blended learning curriculum programs have been rapidly growing across the country as digital education technologies continue to develop and progress. In just the past months schools inWashington, DC and Cincinnati, Ohio have received grants from private groups to expand blended learning.
 
Blended learning programs give students and teachers the ability to maximize students’ time at school by combining in-person instruction with online education tools in order to tailor education to a student’s specific learning requirements. As Doug Brooks, a professor of education at Miami University, has noted, “Blended Learning combines the best of online schooling with the relationships and positive school environment that can only take place in a traditional brick and mortar school.” Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor echoed that statement by saying blended learning, “incorporates the best of what teachers do with the support of instructional technologies that help strengthen the time that teachers spend with their students.”
 
The continued development and expansion of digital education technologies gives schools the opportunity to transform the traditional American school system from its archaic and stagnant past. Blended learning opens the door to a future that puts students at the center of curriculum decisions and gives them the ability to personalize education for their different learning needs.
 
State policymakers should support policies that enable the expansion of blended learning programs by relaxing seat-time and student-teacher ratio requirements and expanding choice options such as charter schools, vouchers, education savings accounts, and taxpayer savings accounts.

Education

Blended learning initiatives – which combine traditional in-person education with supervised and individualized online learning – are growing throughout the nation in K–12 schools. The growth of blended learning has been slowed by numerous government restrictions. In this Research & Commentary, Heartland’s Rebecca Schieber offers policy ideas that could help propel blended learning forward. Read More

Energy & Environment

Legislators who reject CO2-restricting, energy-price-raising, “climate change” legislation will invariably encounter the claim that “97% of scientists” say climate change is both man-made and a problem. Heartland President Joseph Bast and Policy Analyst Taylor Smith trace back the multiple origins of the so-called “scientific consensus” and examine what scientists actually believe. Read More
 
Budget & Tax
 
In a new Policy Brief, Heartland Institute Senior Fellow Peter Ferrara describes the failure of the New Deal-era War on Poverty and recounts the successes achieved by the 1996 welfare reform. He calls for dramatic new reforms that would “end the poverty trap and free the nation’s poor.” Ferrara calls for block-granting the remaining means-tested welfare reform programs in a lump sum to the states, giving each the flexibility to structure its welfare system to meet the needs and circumstances of its own citizens. Doing so would restore state control over welfare and “would be much more efficient and effective at achieving the stated goals of welfare-state proponents, as the reform would benefit the poor through increased work and the resulting increased incomes.” Read More
 
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
 
In this Research & Commentary Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines the economic impact of North Carolina deciding to curtail its unemployment insurance extensions. Glans concludes, “North Carolina’s employment growth following the contraction of its unemployment benefit programs shows limiting UI benefits does not hurt the economy and can in fact increase employment. Legislators in other states should follow its lead.” North Carolina’s unemployment rate has shrunk since limiting UI benefits. Read More
 
Health Care
 
Supporters of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act argue they can get “free money” from the federal government if they expand. However, that is simply not the case. In thisResearch & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans notes, “Without significant reforms, Medicaid will remain fiscally unsustainable. States that haven’t yet expanded Medicaid should require legislative approval for any future expansion. It is undemocratic to allow a governor to unilaterally expand the largest category of state budget expenditures.” Read More
 
From Our Free-Market Friends
 
The Texas Public Policy Foundation released a report in April discussing how the increased government-sponsored cartelization of the American economy over the past century has been a major driver of the expansion of federal power. The report concludes this phenomenon has “Created a poisonous effect on constitutional democracy and free competition.” Read More

 
 
 
The May issue of School Reform News reports the Arizona state supreme court refused to take up an appeal of a lower court’s decision in favor of the state’s education savings account (ESA) program. By allowing the lower court decision to stand, the state supreme court may have paved the way for other states to take up the innovative program. “The life cycle of school choice programs is almost predictable,” notes Jonathan Butcher, education director of Arizona’s Goldwater Institute. “It gets passed into law, the union sues, the court decides, and if the decide favorably, other states start doing it.”

Environment & Climate News

Budget & Tax News