Oklahoma governor signs revolutionary eLearning bill

Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating has signed a bill that offricials say will expand the role of online learning in the state, while clarifying to educators what is required of such services.

The new law, which took effect July 1, grants students a transfer option if the online courses they desire are not provided at their current school. It also enables career technology centers throughout the state to offer core courses online, which officials say will allow students to fit required classes into already crowded schedules.

Further, the law says juvenile delinquent homes and foster care facilities will be able to tap into the convenience of online learning. Now Oklahoma’s group homes and youth detention centers can contract with local school districts to offer online courses to troubled kids. State lawmakers believe the internet-based courses will provide a welcome alternative for children who have failed to succeed in traditional learning environments.

Another provision lets foreign students receive a high school diploma from the state. According to the law, students in other countries will be allowed to participate in fully certified online courses if they agree to pay tuition costs equal to a school district’s per-pupil expenditure.

A final provision enables schools to receive prorated state attendance funding for students who attend public schools on a part-time basis but complete their educational requirements through online instruction. Prior to the law’s passage, schools received attendance dollars only for those students enrolled on a full-time basis.

“This is a defining moment for education in Oklahoma, as we take an important step toward ensuring all children can have access to high-quality education experiences regardless of their situation or location,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sandy Garrett. “Oklahomans can be proud that our state is rising to the challenge of ensuring that no child will be left behind.”

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