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State Passes Bill to Mandate Virtual School Options

State Passes Bill to Mandate Virtual School Options

Alabama lawmakers passed a bill that will require every school to offer a level of virtual school for its high school students by the 2016-2017 school year as an effort to capitalize on the advantages of virtual learning. 

Lawmakers hope that by requiring every school to offer a virtual option, every student can decide what mode of learning is right for him or her.

"'It's not a solution for everybody,' said Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Montgomery, sponsor of the bill. 'But for a certain population of students, it's a really good option,'" said an article on Al.com.

Currently, Alabama has proved itself to be highly innovative when it comes to virtual learning through its use of the program ACCESS. ACCESS allows students to virtually take classes and electives that aren't available in their school.

The program currently has 27,000 enrolled students across high schools and some middle schools, and it "uses some live video feeds of classroom teachers. But most of the courses are taught through web-based programs, said Malissa Valdes-Hubert, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education," according to the article.

Brewbaker's bill would create a task force to focus on improving and expanding ACCESS and would in general focus on being a strong alternative option to in-class instruction.

"Brewbaker said some parents have turned to private school or home school for reasons other than academics, reasons that could be negated by virtual school. 'They may not want their kid on a bus for two hours, or may have safety concerns,' Brewbaker said," according to the article.

The bill has now been sent to Gov. Robert Bentley's office, where it is being reviewed.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/28/2015

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