Oregon educators look to create single hub for cyber classes

Students across Oregon might be able to take online classes as soon as this fall if the state’s Education Service Districts can pull together a plan for a statewide cyber-school hub, reports the Oregonian. Superintendents from nearly all of Oregon’s 20 Educational Service Districts (ESDs) converged in Salem on March 11 to consider strategies for offering a broad range of online classes. If the plan works, it will be a giant step into 21st-century learning for most of Oregon’s 197 school districts. Students would access the statewide system of courses through their local ESD. Oregon’s ESDs offer school districts services such as special education, technology, early education, and teacher training. They receive state funds and can provide services on a broader scale for less money than schools could alone. Districts pay for some ESD services; access to the online classes might fall into that category. The cyber courses will give parents another option to Oregon’s three online charter schools, said Jim Mabbott, superintendent of the Northwest Regional ESD. “The online situation is out of control in Oregon,” Mabbott said. “There should be one online school for the state, and the cost would drop substantially.” He believes the ESD virtual classes would keep more students—and the money the state provides to educate each student—in their home district schools…

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