WASHINGTON, D.C. – New memo from CAP Senior Fellow Louis Caldera provides guidance for the House Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, which would help develop freely available and widely disseminated high-quality online courses that will help meet the educational and training needs of students in high school and college, and among adult workers.
Read full memo by Louis Caldera here.
President Barack Obama has proposed an ambitious agenda to reform and improve U.S. education at all levels, including by harnessing the power of technology to deliver education in new and innovative ways. He is backing up these proposals with plans for a significant increase in the federal investment in education geared to reclaiming the world’s number one ranking in college completion by 2020, producing the skilled and educated workers our economy needs to boost productivity and wages, and ensuring that the opportunity to learn and gain new skills is widely available, including to dislocated workers struggling to find well-paying jobs. Few long-term policy initiatives are as important as this for our nation’s broad-based economic growth and prosperity in the 21st century.
Key members of Congress get it. This past week the House Committee on Education and Labor responded to the president’s call for new investments in college access and completion and in the nation’s community colleges by passing the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, which authorizes and funds the major parts of this initiative. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is working to develop a counterpart bill as part of the 2010 budget reconciliation process, and we applaud the members of theses committees for pushing ahead with President Obama’s key educational objectives in this arena.
The act wisely seeks to leverage U.S. know-how in information technology and educational instruction to develop freely available and widely disseminated high-quality online courses that will help meet the educational and training needs of students in high school and college, and among adult workers. Specifically the legislation creates a $500 million, 10-year grant program aimed at developing and widely disseminating “free high-quality online training, high school courses, and postsecondary education courses.”
To have maximum benefit, however, these investments in new online courses should be strategically aligned with the president’s goal of increasing the number of Americans who earn postsecondary college degrees or credentials that have value in the workplace. This requires that such courses be more than a catalogue of online courses freely available for download by any potential user. Instead they should be developed for use by accredited educational institutions that award degrees and certificates, matched to appropriate educational standards, and tailored to fit within the structure of a program of instruction that leads to a degree or certificate.
Read full memo here.
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