Gov. Brewer Vetoes Bill Making Changes to Online Education

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday vetoed a bill that would have enacted sweeping changes to the state's online-education system.

The legislation would have made it easier for Arizona junior- and high-school students to take online courses, which likely would have pushed further growth in the system. The bill also would have boosted accountability by creating a master list of approved courses and a state ranking and evaluation of each course.

In addition, Senate Bill 1259 would have required students to take final exams in online classes in the presence of another person to help prevent cheating.

In a letter accompanying her veto, Brewer said she was concerned about the appropriateness of the state "or an entity on behalf of the state approving online courses or curriculum."

She also cited a provision that would have paid online schools more state funding per student if the student mastered a course. "I strongly support moving toward funding outcomes; however, ADE (the Arizona Department of Education) may not be able to implement the systems properly, at least as the bill is drafted."

Brewer added that she believes online learning will become more common, and she looks forward to working with the bill's sponsor to improve high school students' access to quality online learning.

Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, who sponsored the legislation, was traveling on Monday and unavailable for comment, his office said. In a previous interview, Crandall said the legislation would do three things: provide students with more access to online courses, set a quality bar, and establish an evaluation process for the quality and effectiveness.

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