California Education Dialogue

A public policy dialogue produced by Information Renaissance
with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
IBM Corporation and Intel Corporation



About Dialogues

Briefing Book

Discussion Archive


Report of the Working Group on
Emerging Modes of Delivery, Certification and Planning


Executive Summary


Opportunities and Challenges / Recommendations / Commentary

Section I: Emerging Modes of Instructional Delivery
Section II: Emerging Organizational Forms
Section III: Emerging Modes of Assessment
Section IV: Emerging Modes of Certification
Section V: Forecasting and Planning
Section VI: Adult Continuing Education


Appendix: Guest Presenters
Appendix: Working Group Members


“[T]he school of the future requires precisely what bureaucracy inhibits: creativity, flexibility, innovation, and originality. The school of the future also requires accountability for results. And if schools are responsible for results they must be free to achieve them as their talents and energies dictate.”

John Murphy & Denis P. Doyle, 2001
Former County Superintendent, Prince George County, Education writer and analyst, respectively

The Emerging Modes of Delivery, Certification, and Planning Working Group was charged with:
  • Identifying ways in which emerging information technologies can facilitate a more efficient and effective distribution of education services, and more cost-effective use of facilities.

  • Identifying best teaching and learning practices from emerging organizational forms, such as charter schools and community partnerships, and exploring how these best practices can best be replicated systemically.

  • Identifying methods for certifying learner competencies that are highly responsive to learner needs and that permit customization of student educational plans that can expedite achievement of their educational goals.

  • Identifying sensible, long-term remedies for ongoing systems planning, for the modeling of reform alternatives, and for short and long range forecasting of educational change.

  • Identifying ways to better coordinate the administration and delivery of noncredit and adult education.

Four overarching principles capture the key themes that must be applied in transforming California’s PreK-University education system: equity and access; flexibility to meet learner needs; quality and accountability; and coordination, cooperation, and planning for a seamless delivery system. The recommendations presented in this report are categorized by section as well as these four guiding principles.


Equity and Access

  1. The State should ensure that educational institutions provide multiple modes of delivery, including applying technologies, to ensure meaningful access for all populations and individuals throughout their lives.

  1. The State should ensure long-term, continuous support that will result in access to technology by all institutions regardless of how remote the location of the learner.

  1. The State should encourage technology that aims for simplicity in design, supports flexibility, is financially feasible, is measured through outcomes and assessment, and allows users to enhance its applications.

Flexibility to Meet Learner Needs

  1. The State should provide funding for institutional development of distributed learning.

Quality and Accountability

  1. The State should support the ongoing professional development of all staff in technology applications, to ensure they have the skills to help students develop the technology skills, knowledge, and aptitudes needed for lifelong success.

Coordination, Cooperation and Planning

  1. The State should take the lead in developing educational technology partnerships that include the public, private, non-profit, and for-profit sectors.

  1. The State should encourage local education agencies to establish partnerships with utilities, telecommunication companies, software and hardware providers, and others to facilitate functional universal access to technology.

  1. The State should encourage cross-segmental collaboration and dialogue among teachers at the same levels, to improve instructional delivery.


Flexibility to Meet Learner Needs

  1. The State and local education agencies should offer incentives to teachers who put learning within the community or environmental context of their students.

  1. The State and local education agencies should encourage innovative emerging organizational forms, including charter schools that are standards-based and assessed against those standards on an ongoing basis.

  1. The State should set aside a pool of funds to encourage the creation of small schools in K-12 education.

Coordination, Cooperation, and Planning

  1. The State and communities should establish incentives for joint development and use of school facilities with cities and counties, including libraries, classrooms, and recreational and community space.
  • New construction should be linked to the community, and better links should be established with the community in existing schools.
  • The structures should be in compliance with the same building codes applicable to other buildings, such as libraries and government offices.
  • Technology should support distributed learning in these and other settings.

  1. The State should establish an Innovation Fund to support innovative projects and intersegmental collaboration in education.


Quality and Accountability

  1. Institutions should assess and document instructional innovations, outcomes, and achievement.

  1. The State and local education agencies should assure that accountability expectations and measures for assessment and testing are made public and understandable for all participants in the system. Any assessment used for ‘high-stakes’ decisions and consequences should have measurement validity and reliability, and should reflect the level at which knowledge and skills are gained from appropriate instruction.

  1. The State should encourage schools and postsecondary institutions to use test results from one set of instruments in multiple ways to avoid over-testing learners, although high stakes decisions about student placement and promotion should not be made on the basis of a single test.

Coordination, Cooperation and Planning

  1. The State should encourage creation, by 2005, of a digital learning portfolio for each learner that would allow the student to move through a variety of coordinated delivery systems, regardless of the provider.


Flexibility to Meet Learner Needs

  1. The State should identify an entity to develop a common set of requirements for certificates to be developed by a consortium of partners, including education institutions, employers, and community-based organizations.


Coordination, Cooperation, and Planning

  1. The State should conduct an annual forecast, through a designated entity, of education trends and needs, including elements critical to state policy-making and resource allocation.

  1. The State should develop all-electronic data collection processes by the year 2005 that would make minimal demands on school districts while providing sufficient information for policy decisions.

  1. The State should develop unique identifiers for critical elements of the educational system when continuity and cross-correlation of information is important, particularly (1) students, (2) instructors, and (3) institutions.


Equity and Access

  1. The State should establish a funding base adequate to the increasing challenges facing California’s Adult Continuing Education System.

Flexibility to Meet Learner Needs

  1. The State should develop a broad set of program categories that allow for the substantial flexibility necessary to meet local needs of adult learners.
  • Proposed categories include Life Management Skills, Civics Participation, Workforce Learning, and Foundational/Academic Skills Development.

Quality and Accountability

  1. The State should expand adult continuing education course standards to include student performance measures such as those developed by the National Skill Standards Board, the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), and Equipped for the Future.

  1. The State should support an accountability system for adult continuing education students, emphasizing student performance and rewards for institutions for achievement.

  1. The State should support the ongoing professional development of all staff who work with adult learners to enable the students to develop the skills, knowledge, and aptitudes for life-long successes.

Coordination, Cooperation, and Planning

  1. The State should review the governance structure for adult continuing education, including the role of the Joint Board Committee on Noncredit and Adult Education, with the goal of achieving a seamless delivery system among multiple providers that ensures a smooth transition for those adult learners continuing on to formal education, pursuing other goals, or entering the workforce.

  1. The State should develop a mechanism for the reciprocity of instructional credentials, based on minimum qualifications, between the adult education and noncredit systems to allow instructors to teach in either or both systems.
Contents Summary Background I. Delivery
II. Organization III. Assessment IV. Certification V. Planning
VI. Adult Ed. Conclusion Presenters Members