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SB 0289 - Education; require students; one course containing online learning

Tracking Level: Hot
Sponsor: Rogers,Chip 21st
Last Action: 5/1/2012 - Senate Date Signed by Governor
Senate Committee: ED&Y
House Committee: Ed
Assigned To:
Curriculum and TestingNext Bill

Staff Analysis of the Legislation


            This bill would require attempt to maximize the number of students beginning with entering ninth graders in 2014-2015 to take taking at least one course containing online learning, would provide for EOCT’s, would require local systems to offer opportunities for part-time and full-time virtual instruction, would provide a list of providers and requirements for them, would require a DOE report on digital learning methods, and would provide for blended learning courses in charter schools to include online instruction.

            The on-line instruction could originate with the GA Virtual School, or it could be offered through the high school that significantly integrates online content a provider approved approved according to existing law, or it could originate with a postsecondary institution as dual enrollment. 

            It would add a GA Virtual School course to those eligible to count in FTE calculations, thereby providing some funding to help pay for the course. 

            Not only would the online courses have EOCT’s online, but by 2014-2015, all end-of-course EOCT’s for core subjects would have to be administered online.   By 2015-2016, all EOCT’s would have to be available online, and the SBOE would have to establish rules and regulations to maximize the number of students and school systems utilizing the online assessments.

            The bill would remove the requirement to give public school students priority in enrolling in GA Virtual School on-line courses, and students could not be denied enrollment in a GA Virtual School course if the course is also offered in his/her resident school.

            The General Assembly could continue to establish a GA Virtual School grant account, but it would no longer be tied to the amount of money that would have been earned if the student were in the same course in their resident high school. The funds would go to the operation and maintenance of the GA Virtual School.

            The LEA’s would have to pay costs for tuition, materials, and fees to the GA Virtual School, but the tuition could not exceed $250 per student per semester course. [At 1/6th of the current base cost amount, each regular student in an on-line course would generate approximately $400 for a local system. It is unknown if the remaining $150 would cover the costs of materials and fees.]

            Beginning 2013-2014, all systems would have to provide opportunities for all students, grades 3-12 enrolled in GA public schools in their districts opportunities to participate in online courses. Systems would have to offer part-time and full-time online instruction and would have to notify parents of the opportunities with a written notice at least 90 days and not ending earlier than 30 days prior to the first day of the school year.

            Each system’s program would be required to have at least 3 options (see below) for:

1.    Full-time virtual instruction for students enrolled in K-12 3-12; and

2.    Part-time virtual instruction for student enrolled in 9-12 K-12 3-12.

Systems’ programs would have to provide at least 2 full-time and 1 part-time options for students enrolled in dropout prevention and academic intervention programs or DJJ programs.

The 3 options for providing such programs could be all or one of the following:

1.    Georgia Virtual School;

2.    Contracted delivery with an approved provider for a full-time or part-time program;

3.    Agreements with another local system or systems with a process for the transfer of funds.

RESA’s could provide multidistrict contractual agreements for member systems.

The DOE would have to maintain a list of providers approved for 3 years to offer virtual instruction if the provider can document that it:

1.    Has prior successful experience in offering online courses and can quantify student performance in such courses.

2.    Can provide a detailed curriculum and student performance accountability plan for every subject and grade level served, including:

a.    Courses that meet nationally recognized standards for K-12 online learning;

b.    Content and services that align with and measure student proficiency in the state-approved curriculum;

c.    Mechanisms that ensure students have met requirements for promotion or graduation with a standard diploma, as appropriate;

3.    Publishes as part of its application and in all negotiated contracts:

a.    Information and data about each full-time and part-time program regarding its curriculum;

b.    School policies and procedures;

c.    Certification status and physical location of all administrative and instructional personnel;

d.    Student-teacher ratios;

e.    Student completion and promotion rates; and

f.     Student, educator and school performance accountability outcomes.

Approved providers would retain its approval for five years after DOE approval, provided they abided by all requirements of the law. However, each provider approved for the 2013-2014 year would have to apply for approval for a part-time program for grades 3-12. Each contract with a provider would have to delineate a detailed curricular plan that illustrates how students would receive instruction and be measured for achievement in state curriculum requirements for each grade and subject.

The DOE would have to send a comprehensive report to the Governor, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House regarding their role in assisting LEA’s to provide such programs at reasonable prices and/or through shared services, as well as other details regarding the encouragement of participation in such programs.

It would remove the state prohibition of students’ use of any “personal electronic communication device during classroom instructional time.

Charter schools could use only blended courses, and their students would have to be full-time enrollees, and the courses would have to originate from the physical location of the charter school.


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