The Idaho State Board of Education today approved a change in the graduation requirement for high school students. Starting with the graduating class of 2016, students in Idaho will be required to take two (2) classes online.
"The vote today is a great step toward ensuring all Idaho students not only graduate from high school but graduate prepared to go on to postsecondary education and the workplace," said Supt. Tom Luna. "By allowing parents and local school districts to choose online courses and providers that best meets their students’ needs, we now know that every Idaho student will gain the critical digital learning skills they need to be successful in the 21st Century."
Board President Richard Westerberg felt similarly: “Everything is moving online, and we’re doing our students a disservice if we’re not giving them an opportunity in this arena. Our own institutions tell us that high school students need to have online learning skills to be more successful once they arrive on campus.”
The rule, IDAPA 08-0203-1102, will start with incoming freshman in the fall of 2012. Local districts will have the latitude to determine which classes will be offered to students online and when they can take them during their four years in high school.
“Local control is the key,” said Board Vice-President Ken Edmunds of Twin Falls. “We have one-hundred-fifteen local districts in this state, and each one is unique. They must have that flexibility to work this out in the best manner possible--locally.”
The Board took extensive public comment throughout the rule making process, including a series of seven (7) local public hearings in various locations statewide. A sub-committee of local school superintendents, teachers, school board members, parents, legislators and educational experts worked on the draft rule prior to the public hearings.
“Those folks who said we did this despite overwhelming public opposition need to understand that the majority of people who commented opposed the law itself,” said Subcommittee Chairman and Board Secretary Don Soltman of Twin Lakes. “The law is passed. We are bound to comply with the law. The input we received on the actual proposed number of classes themselves was very constructive.”
The Idaho Legislature will now have an opportunity to review the rule in January of 2012.