Now that Idaho has approved a requirement that high school students take at least two credits online, officials are working on plans for a statewide contract expected to include a list of providers for districts to choose from when selecting virtual courses.
Idaho will also phase in mobile computers, such as a laptops or iPads, for every high school teacher and student while making online courses a graduation requirement under sweeping new education changes backed by public schools chief Tom Luna and the governor.
A task force aimed at helping implement Luna's plan to increase technology in the classroom met Monday at the Idaho Capitol in Boise. The goal is to provide schools with a list of online course providers approved and contracted by the state to offer classes to Idaho students, Luna said.
"We want to set up a bank of online providers that have negotiated a statewide contract price. That's going to drive the cost down," Luna said Monday during an interview with The Associated Press. "And then, school districts will be able to create a catalog of online courses for their students to choose from."
But under the education changes, high school students will also be allowed to enroll in any state-approved online class starting next fall -- with or without permission from their school district. The company that provides that online course will then be entitled to two-thirds of the state funding sent to the school district for that student for that class period.