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Backpack funding for school choice: a lesson from Utah

By | December 19th, 2012

“How do we get to a backpack, course-level funding system in Colorado?” asked Ben DeGrow during a Dec. 6 panel discussion on “Financing Student Success” at the state Capitol. “Looking at our neighbors to the west, the state of Utah, which has the statewide online program…”

“This program is about two years old. It started in the fall of 2010,” said DeGrow, a public policy analyst with the Independence Institute who focuses on education issues. “Dollars follow the high school students. And they can take up to two courses digitally, in any subject area, from a pool of providers across the state of Utah. So, any school district - any charter school in Utah - partners with a digital course provider, and creates course offerings and content. And the student who enrolls in the statewide online program can take up to two courses from one of those providers. They have a full range of access and flexibility. Really, this is giving parents and students the utmost choices possible, to customize their learning and make that possible.”

DeGrow went on to describe the tiered cost structure for courses, enrollment growth, the benefits for students and recommended reforms for Colorado. His comment were based on his paper published earlier this year.

The 91-minute video of the event is above and linked here.

[NOTE: DeGrow's writing has been cross-posted on WhoSaidYouSaid.]

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