The Maryland Board of Education, hoping to make the state a national leader in online instruction, plans to launch a statewide virtual classroom next year that would allow parolees, the hospital-bound, and a variety of other students to take courses over the internet and apply the credits toward a high school degree.

State School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick announced the initiative Oct. 25, spurred by a report she commissioned showing that although eight of the state's 24

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