Some State Online Learning Requirements In Limbo

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Since 2002, school districts nationwide have started making the move toward online education.  They recognize that many colleges and universities require students to take online classes and want to adequately prepare their students for post-secondary education.  Michigan made the first move and it wasn’t long before others followed.  Now 7 states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, New Mexico, and Virginia) have integrated some form of an online education requirement.  It was 8 states until Idaho recently repealed their requirement that all students who begin ninth grade in Fall 2012 must take 2 online courses to graduate.

According to an article published by eSchoolNews, Idaho’s board of education repealed the online-learning requirement.  Apparently, in the November 6th election, voters in Idaho rejected a number of technology-related school reforms .  In fact, it was the Idaho Superintendent of Schools, Tom Luna, who proposed that the BOE repeal the rule that would require every student in Idaho to take at least two online courses to graduate.  Since the vote, there has been discussion that technology requirements are necessary, they simply haven’t decided on the “type and number.”  Board member Rod Lewis of Boise said “…If you really look at what’s happening in post-secondary institutions…it’s going to be increasingly important that we have students at the end of the day know how to take classes online effectively…”

While many believe and agree in the value of online education, they are concerned with how it affects students in rural areas.  Many students who attend school in these areas do not have consistent access to the internet at home—they may have dial up or no internet access at all.  So instead of pushing to make online learning a “requirement” they are trying to make it an option.  If students want and are able to take an online class, they have the opportunity but it is not necessarily required in order for them to graduate.

In our world of smart phones, tablets, texting, and unlimited wi-fi, it seems to me that many students, if given the choice of the same class either online or in a traditional setting, would rather take a course online.  An online course not only allows them to work at their own pace but also on their own time.  Not to mention the fact that we all know how much kids love to look at screens.  They’d much rather be clicking a mouse or typing on a keyboard than flipping through the pages of a book and using a pencil & paper.  What do you think?  I may be a bit biased since my generation was the first to really see the convenience of “the world wide web”, but I just can’t deny that an integrated education does wonders in providing students with a well-rounded education model.

 

sources: 1, 2

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Jenna is a former middle school English teacher who has a passion for technology!  She is the current Director of SBACS Virtual Academy and completely understands the movement to a web-based educational system.  "Blended learning is a not a trend, it is the future of education and school leaders must be willing to embrace this movement in order to continue to advance Christian education."  Read her thoughts on all things related to online learning here!

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