OER Resources for Policy Makers

Resources for policymakers at the district, state and national level interested in the adoption and implementation of open educational resources (OER).

The following resources are for policymakers at the district, state and national level interested in the adoption and implementation of open educational resources (OER).

  • Federal policy
  • State policy
  • Additional resources: A number of these resources are featured in the case studies*. 

Note: Not all of the resources are OER, but may be useful in an OER strategy and adoption. 

Federal policy

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015. The Act reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation's education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. The Act encourages OER use in the following areas.

  • §4102(3)(A) allows for the use of openly licensed content for digital learning.
  • §4104(b)(3)(C)(vi) notes that states can use funds to make instructional content widely available through open educational resources.

Foresight Law + Policy has created a resource for planning to use ESSA funds in conjunction with OER.  The resource, Open Educational Resources Planning Tool: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants Program, is available here.

State Policy

  • The 2014 CCSSO report, State of the States: Open Educational Resources in K-12 Education, provides an overview of ongoing work in states that are considering OER initiatives.
  • State Legislation: This tracker spreadsheet includes descriptions and links to all state OER legislative activity (higher education and K-12) from the 2015-2016 legislative sessions.
    • States include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington
  • For additional legislation, SPARC has created a 2017 State Legislation Roundup tool.
  • 2013 North Carolina House Bill 44 (NC)- North Carolina House Bill 44 states the intent of the general assembly to transition from funding textbooks to funding digital learning in the public schools.
  • 2012 Washington House Bill 2337 (WA)- Washington House Bill 2337 requires the superintendent of public instruction, subject to availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, to take the lead in identifying and developing a library of openly licensed courseware aligned with the common core state standards and placed under an attribution license, registered by a nonprofit or for-profit organization with domain expertise in open courseware, that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material, while still allowing the authors or creators to retain the copyright and to receive credit for their efforts.  

Additional Resources

  • Achieve the Core  (WA3) Achieve the Core provides free content and practical tools designed to help educators understand and implement the Common Core and other college and career ready standards. 
  • Aligning NGSS with Locally Grown Curriculum, presented by Coronado Middle School Team (CA) The Coronado Middle School team presents resources for designing and implementing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curriculum in the classroom through a digital platform in this series of Google Slides.
  • BYOD: A District Approach (CA)- This slide presentation provides an overview of Coronado's shift to a 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) approach in their district.
  • Career Path High (UT) Utah's Career Path High employs a blended Learning Flex model that empowers students with maximum flexibility over time, place, path and pace.
  • Clark County (NV) School District (NV)- Established in 1956, Clark County School District is the fifth largest school district in the country, educating almost 75 percent of all students in Nevada with more than 320,000 students enrolled in Kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • Common Core State Standards (CA, NC, NV, WA3, WA4)- The Common Core State Standards is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) that were created to ensure all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life.
  • competency education (NC)- In a competency education system, students advance upon mastery, competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students, assessment is meaningful and a positive learning experience for students, students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning need, and learning outcomes emphasize competencies that include application and creation of knowledge, along with the development of important skills and dispositions.
  • Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) (CA)- Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) consists of 3,161 students and five schools that are designed to inspire, innovate, and create limitless opportunities to thrive.  
  • CUSD- Future Ready District (CA)- Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) took the Future Ready Pledge, and the district is making a firm commitment to implementing meaningful changes toward a digital learning transition that supports teachers, and addresses the district's vision for student learning.
  • CUSD K-5 Curriculum Map (CA)- Coronado Unified School District's (CUSD) K-5 curriculum map uses a variety of OER from across the country, coordinated and aligned to standards and assessments.
  • CUSD Learning Department (CA)- The Learning Department oversees many areas in CUSD related to teaching and learning, including curriculum coordination and assessment for preschool through 12th grade.  
  • Electronic High School of Utah (UT)- The Electronic High School of Utah's mission is to educate, remediate, accelerate, and graduate Utah's diverse learners with caring, qualified teachers using current technology to provide rigorous curricula, timely access to quality online instruction, and prompt professional feedback to student work.
  • iNACOL (CA)- The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is a nonprofit providing policy advocacy, research on best practices, next generation learning models professional development and networking, publishing national quality standards, driving the emerging field of competency-based, online and blended learning forward.
  • iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework (SIATech)- The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and The Learning Accelerator (TLA) explore the key characteristics of teachers in successful blended learning environments through reviews of existing practices and research.
  • iNACOL Three-Point Rubric: National Standards for Quality Online Courses (SIATech)- Michigan Virtual University used the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses to create this rubric, which is meant to be used as a supplemental resource to assist course reviewers in the review process of online courses.
  • Grandview, Washington School District (WA4)- The Grandview, Washington School District is administered by educators who believe that it is necessary to authentically engage students in rigorous, relevant, and appropriate instruction focused on essential outcomes.
  • K-12 OER Collaborative (CA, NC, WA)- The K-12 OER Collaborative is a  state-led initiative with the objective to create comprehensive, high-quality, open educational resources (OER) supporting K-12 mathematics and English language arts, aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
  • Learning RegistryThe learning registry is a new approach to capturing, connecting and sharing data about learning resources available online with the goal of making it easier for educators and students to access the rich content available in our ever-expanding digital universe.
  • Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum (@MNCurriculum)- The Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum is a grassroots initiative to promote the creation of open digital curriculum. Its goal is to leverage the power of collaboration and digital resources to launch teachers and students into new learning frontiers. 
  • Mountain Heights Academy (UT)- Mountain Heights Academy, formerly Open High School of Utah, is a tuition-free, online public charter school available to all Utah students in grades 7-12.
  • Natick Public Schools (MA)- Natick, MA Public Schools serve 6,000 students with 600 educators.
  • Nevada Learning Academy (NV)- Courses at the non-traditional Nevada Learning Academy (NLA) extend from credit recovery and remediation to honors and Advanced Placement for full-time or part-time students in grades 6-12.
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC)- There are 2,412 traditional public schools and 100 charter schools in North Carolina, which are governed by a local board of education.
  • North Carolina Governor's Teacher Network (NC)- This initiative, funded by North Carolina's Race to the Top (RttT) grant, provides a statewide platform for teachers to share their best work around instruction and professional development and help advance educational remodeling efforts across the state.
  • North Carolina Learning Object Repository (NC)- The North Carolina Learning Object Repository (NCLOR) collects documents, audio/video clips, simulations, learning modules, assessments, and more to provide a centralized location for the acquisition, collection, sharing, and management of quality learning resources for all teachers in North Carolina.
  • North Carolina Virtual Public School (NC)- The North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) is the nation's second largest state-led virtual school with over 55,000 enrollments in the 2014-2015 school year.
  • North Lake Middle School (WA2)- North Lake Middle School, located in Lake Stevens, WA, is dedicated to ensuring its students will be contributing members of society and lifelong learners, pursuing their passions and interests in an ever-changing world.
  • Poway Unified School District (SIATech)- The Poway Unified School District is located in northern San Diego County, California. PUSD operates 25 elementary schools (K-5), one elementary & middle school combination (TK-8th), six middle schools (6-8), one continuation high school, five comprehensive high schools (9-12), and one adult school.
  • Richland High School (WA3)- Richland High School is a traditional grades 9-12 high school in in Richland, WA, serving approximately 2,000 students.Staker, H. (2011).
  • The rise of K-12 blended learning: Profiles of emerging models. Innosight Institute. (SIATech)- This paper profiles 40 organizations that have blended or have plans to blend online learning with brick-and-mortar classrooms.
  • School for Integrated Academics and Technologies (SIATech)= SIATech's multi-state network of free public charter high schools re-enroll students highly at-risk of dropping out and those who have already given up and guide them to graduation.
  • Trails (MA)- TRAILS is an online, modular (by topic and type of teaching tool) and searchable database.
  • University of Washington (WA4)- The University of Washington is one of the world's preeminent public universities. 
  • Utah Open Textbook Project (WA)- In 2012, the Utah State Office of Education announced that it would develop and support open textbooks in key curriculum areas of secondary language arts, science, and mathematics. The latest materials are available on the Utah Education Network OER site
  • Washington State Office of Public Instruction (OSPI) (WA, WA2)- The Washington State Office of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 public education in Washington state.
  • Washington State OER summits (WA)- Led by the the Washington State Office of Public Instruction (OSPI), Washington State OER summits provide district teams with the opportunity to discuss how to include OER as an important part of their instructional material strategy.
  • Washington State Reviewed OER Library (WA, WA3)- Based on 2012 legislation, the Washington State Reviewed OER Library is a collection of openly licensed courseware aligned with the common core state standards and placed under an attribution license, that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material.
  • Washington's K-12 OER Project (WA)- The OER Project is creating a collection of openly licensed courseware and engaging in an awareness campaign to inform school districts about these resources.

*Key of case studies

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