Stimulus funds give students greater access to online classes

Thousands more Tennessee students next year will have access to online courses, thanks to $6 million in stimulus funds being doled out to the state’s school districts, reports the Tennessean. State officials expect as many as 20,000 additional students will be able to take online courses as funding for the state’s online school, e4TN, expands over the next two years—a significant jump from the 2,250 students who took online courses in 2008-09. Tennessee was one of the last states in the Southeast to develop online courses but has seen a rapid increase in enrollment since e4TN launched in 2006. Enrollment has increased by 900 percent since 2006 as more classes are developed and more districts make them available to students, said Wendy Oliver, coordinator of e4TN. Educators and community leaders say expanding online coursework is necessary so that students can have more choices beyond what’s offered in brick-and-mortar high schools, especially in small and rural schools where resources are thin. Districts will be able to apply for stimulus money to pay for students to take the online courses, which can cost up to $750 per student…

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