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Senate Discusses Expanding Virtual Coursework

Stephen Chin

The Legislature may add responsibilities to the Statewide Vitural Charter School Boardin the form of oversight of virtual course selection for Oklahoma school districts through potential legislation, Sen. Gary Stanislawskisaid Monday.

Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, said in an Interim Study S14-23 evaluating virtual courses offered in schools that he is considering proposed legislation to increase online coursework available to Oklahoma students. 

To ensure quality, one option would be to direct the Statewide Virtual Charter School, recently established in July of this year, to certify the quality of course work available to students.

"This is something that seems to be in demands by parents," Stanislawski said of online courses. "I get calls from parents all the time. Some schools are all on board with this and others are not embracing technology and students are having to fight. It's been a struggle."

The change could also lessen local school administrations’ workloads, decrease district costs and help alleviate the teacher shortage.

Currently the Statewide Virtual Charter Board sponsors around four virtual schools with enrollment of full-time virtual students being over 5,000, OSDE officials said. There is no data on the number of districts offering virtual coursework. 

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