Nearly three-fourths of public school districts in the United States plan to offer or expand distance-education programs in the near future, the federal government reported March 2.

According to the first federal study of the issue, titled "Distance Education Courses for Public Elementary and Secondary School Students," the popularity of distance education has spread from colleges to earlier grades, as students in more than one-third of U.S. school districts now take courses over the internet or through video conferences.

From social studies and math to English and computer science, thousands

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