January 20, 2012
Busy year: Legislation impacting online learning
2010 and 2011 were busy years for online learning in state legislatures around the country. In response to media requests we compiled a list of major recent online learning legislation, and after doing so thought it valuable enough to share on the blog. These policy changes are described in detail in Keeping Pace in each state profile.
- Florida CS / CS / HB7197 (2011) mandates that all districts offer a full-time online option to students in PK-12; allows statewide virtual charters; allows FLVS to offer a full-time online option.
- Idaho SB1184 (2011) dramatically expands student choice around online courses.
- Indiana HB1002 (2011) allows for online schools outside the previously limited pilot program.
- Iowa House File 645 (2011) allows for regional academies that can offer online schools.
- Maine LD1553 (2011) allows for virtual charter schools.
- Maryland HB1362 (2010) authorizes districts to establish virtual schools.
- Massachusetts 603 CMR 1.00 (2010) allows for virtual innovation schools, including online schools.
- Nevada AB233 (2011) allows schools to grant independent study credits without seat-time.
- New Mexico SB427 (2011) allows students in failing schools to choose online options paid for by the school district.
- Ohio HB153 (2011) lifts the moratorium on online eschools and provides significant guidance.
- Oregon HB2301 (2011) allows up to 3% of students that reside in a district to enroll in an online charter school without district permission.
- Tennessee HB1030 (2011) allows for full-time online schools.
- Utah SB65 (2011) expands student options and allows for multiple providers.
- Virginia SB738 (2010) allows multi-district providers to serve students in grades K-12.
- Washington ESHB2065 (2011) changes funding for alternative learning experiences.
- Wisconsin AB40 (2011) removes the cap on virtual charter enrollments.
In addition to this list, some states passed general education bills that would also affect online learning – for example the teacher evaluation legislation in Wisconsin.
This is a large number of bills, many of which had a significant impact on a large number of students. We are concerned that in some states the legislation is reactionary, and pieced together quickly in response to misinformation or a lack of information. That is not the case in all states, and we certainly see examples of legislation modeled on existing policy or that is thoughtfully developed in response to a specific state’s situation, that will have a positive impact on students.