NEW: Legislation Enacted to Promote Virtual Education in RI
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Online learning has become an important aspect in the delivery and effectiveness of education in the United States. The value of virtual learning, now and in the future, will largely depend on how well students gain skills necessary to compete as job seekers in the 21st century.
To make sure Rhode Island is moving education in the right direction, the General Assembly has approved legislation to establish a “Statewide Virtual Education Act,” to promote the use of and quality of virtual courses as part of public education in the state.
Those bills -- 2012-S 2276Aaa, introduced by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton), and 2012-H 7126A, sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) – have been signed into law by Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
The legislation declares that the promotion and use of virtual learning in Rhode Island schools “must be accompanied by a clear responsibility to ensure that such opportunities are of high quality, consistent with state standards for teaching and instruction, fulfill high school graduation requirements, reflect the principles of equity and access, and include accountability provisions that assure citizens that any investment of public tax dollars is well spent.”
The legislation directs the Commissioner and Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education to develop regulations for the use or continued use of virtual courses and other online learning opportunities for the state’s school districts. The legislation calls for those regulations to achieve specific objectives, including:
-- Standard criteria that ensure virtual courses and content for K-12 students are aligned with state content standards;
-- Standard criteria for school districts to use to select quality providers of virtual courses and online content;
-- Standard criteria that ensure teachers of virtual courses and other online learning activities are appropriately trained and qualified;
-- Standard criteria that school districts can use to ensure that all learners in Rhode Island have access to high quality and relevant virtual courses;
-- Standard accountability provisions that ensure school districts monitor students enrolled in virtual courses.
The sponsors said they introduced the legislation because Rhode Island is one of several states that have not yet established a statewide policy on virtual education. The legislation, they said, is also timely in light of a recent report from a legislative study commission looking into the use of e-texts in school classrooms, which was accompanied by an announcement by the Department of Education of plans to pursue a pilot “paperless classroom” in Rhode Island.
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.