Online learning requirements: Part 2 – States with recommendations
Keeping Pace 2013 is available for download at http://kpk12.com/reports/. We are posting highlights of this year's report in our blog. One of the questions we are asked the most often is which states require students to take an online course in order to graduate. On Friday we looked at states with a true online learning requirement, and today we’ll look at states that recommend and encourage online learning.
In addition to the states with a true requirement noted Friday (Alabama, Florida, Michigan, and Virginia), two states are poised to have requirements. The State Board of Education in North Carolina has passed a requirement that is expected to be implemented beginning in SY 2014-15, and to be required for all students by 2020. Arkansas is piloting a requirement with a handful of districts and charter schools in SY 2013-14 to allow the state to learn implementation lessons; it is expected that the requirement will expand statewide in SY 2014-15.
Other states have passed legislation or other rules that encourage, but not require online learning.
- The West Virginia State Board of Education recommends all students complete an online learning experience during grades 9-12.
- New Mexico’s SB0561 (2007) included a requirement that “at least one of the 24 units required for graduation must be an Advanced Placement, honors, dual enrollment or distance learning course.”
- MassCore recommends subject areas and additional learning opportunities for high school students to study in order to arrive at college or the workplace well prepared, including taking an online course.
One more state has passed legislation encouraging online learning in addition to what was included in Keeping Pace 2013. Georgia's SB289 (2012) states that:
The State Board of Education shall establish rules and regulations to maximize the number of students, beginning with students entering ninth grade in the 2014-2015 school year, who complete prior to graduation at least one course containing online learning. This shall be met through an online course offered by the Georgia Virtual School established pursuant to Code Section 20-2-319.1, through an online dual enrollment course offered by a postsecondary institution, or through a provider approved pursuant to subsection (c) of Code Section 20-2-319.3. This shall also include enrollment in a full-time or part-time virtual instruction program pursuant to Code Section 20-2 319.3.
The board of education is still working to define the new rules and regulations.
Many states are discussing requirements, and we expect the number of districts and states with a legislation requiring or encouraging online learning to continue to grow. While we don’t believe that online learning is appropriate for every student, we believe that a requirement for most students and waivers for those who seek an exception can be an effective way of preparing students for college and career.