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Jeb Bush and Bob Wise: Utah's promising digital learning policy

By Jeb Bush and Bob Wise

Published: Thursday, March 10 2011 2:16 p.m. MST

Last week, the Utah Senate passed legislation that will put Utah and its students at the forefront of K-12 digital learning policy in the country. Unleashing the power of technology in education expands access to high quality education regardless of a student's language, zip code, income levels or special needs.

As state governors, we learned firsthand the high stakes when it comes to preparing students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and careers. Digital learning has the power to transform education to address the individual needs of students in a way never before possible.

To that end, this year we launched Digital Learning Now, a national campaign to define the elements of digital learning and advocate for the policies that will assist states with integrating current and future technological innovations into K-12 public education.

Digital learning can customize and personalize education so all students learn in their own style and at their own pace, maximizing their chances for success in school and beyond. With digital learning, every student from rural communities to inner cities, can access high-quality and rigorous courses in every subject, including foreign languages, math and science.

Digital learning can also be the catalyst for transformational change in education. It is a tool that can address the myriad of challenges faced by schools, community leaders, and policy makers.

With access to multiple online course providers, students in even the most remote areas can connect with high-quality college - and career - prep courses taught by highly qualified teachers who do not work inside their school building. These options can be a powerful tool for teachers who are facing the challenge of meeting a variety of student needs. They can connect communities to a vast network of resources that will help their students compete and succeed in the global economy.

With online and digital learning, Utah high school students will be able to customize their education to better meet their academic goals and prepare them for post-secondary education, vocational and careers. More options, better outcomes, reduced costs—it's a great deal for Utah's students, schools, and taxpayers.

Utah is on the verge of establishing the best K-12 online learning policy in the country and setting the standard for the rest of the nation. We are watching with great admiration and enthusiasm.

Jeb Bush served as governor of Florida 1999-2007 and Bob Wise served as governor of West Virginia 2001-2005.

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