Statewide Online Education Act

Statewide Online Education Act

Summary

This legislation creates a statewide program that provides high school students with access to online learning options regardless of where the student lives. The options are designed to be high quality and allow for maximized learning potential by focusing on student mastery of subjects at their own pace and own time, instead of the traditional seat-time learning requirements.

Model Policy

Section 1. {Title} The Statewide Online Education Act

Section 2. {Program Name} Statewide Online Education Program

Section 3. Statewide Online Education Program Purposes

(1) The Statewide Online Education Program is created to enable eligible students to earn high school graduation credit through the completion of publicly funded online courses.

(2) The Statewide Online Education Program is designated as a program of the public education system.

(3) The purposes of an online school are to:

(a) provide a student with access to online learning options regardless of where the student attends school, whether a public, private, or home school;

(b) provide high quality learning options for a student regardless of language, residence, family income, or special needs;

(c) provide online learning options to allow a student to acquire the knowledge and technology skills necessary in a digital world;

(d) utilize the power and scalability of technology to customize education so that a student may learn in the student’s own style preference and at the student’s own pace;

(e) utilize technology to remove the constraints of traditional classroom learning, allowing a student to access learning virtually at any time and in any place and giving the student the flexibility to take advantage of the student’s peak learning time;

(f) provide personalized learning, where a student can spend as little or as much time as the student needs to master the material;

(g) provide greater access to self-paced programs enabling a high achieving student to accelerate academically, while a struggling student may have additional time and help to gain competency;

(h) allow a student to customize the student’s schedule to better meet the student’s academic goals;

(i) provide quality learning options to better prepare a student for post-secondary education and vocational or career opportunities; and

(j) allow a student to have an individualized educational experience.

Section 4. {Definitions}

(1) “Program” means the Statewide Online Education Program created herein.

(2) “District school” means a public school under the control of a local school board.

(3) “Eligible student” means:

(a) a student enrolled in a district school or charter school in the State; or

(b) beginning in {{the second school year}}, a student:

(i) who attends a private school or home school; and

(ii) whose custodial parent or legal guardian is a resident of the State.

(4) “LEA” means a local education agency in the State that has administrative control of public education.

(5) “Online course” means a course of instruction offered by the Program through the use of digital technology.

(6) “Primary LEA of enrollment” means the LEA in which a student is eligible for enrollment.

(7) “Released-time” means a period of time during the regular school day a student is excused from school at the request of the student’s parent or guardian pursuant to rules of the State Board of Education.

Section 5. Enrollment options through the Program

(1) Subject to the course limitations provided in Subsection (2), an eligible student may enroll in an online course offered through the Program if:

(a) the student meets the course prerequisites;

(b) the course is open for enrollment;

(c) the online course is consistent with the student’s individual education plan, if applicable; and

(d) the online course is consistent with the student’s international baccalaureate program, if applicable.

(2) An eligible student may enroll in online courses for no more than the following number of credits:

(a) in {{ years one and two}}, two credits;

(b) in {{ year three}}, three credits;

(c) in {{ year four}}, four credits;

(d) in {{ year five}}, five credits; and

(e) beginning {{with the sixth year of operation}}, six credits.

(3) Notwithstanding Subsection (2):

(a) a student’s primary LEA of enrollment may allow an eligible student to enroll in online courses for more than the number of credits specified in Subsection (2); or

(b) upon the request of an eligible student, the State Board of Education may allow the student to enroll in online courses for more than the number of credits specified in Subsection (2).

(4) An eligible student’s primary LEA of enrollment shall assist an eligible student in scheduling courses in accordance with the student’s graduation requirements and the student’s post-secondary plans.

(5) An eligible student’s primary LEA of enrollment may not:

(a) impose restrictions on a student’s selection of an online course that fulfills graduation requirements and is consistent with the student’s post-secondary plans; or

(b) give preference to an online course or online course provider.

(6) The State Board of Education, including any employee of the {{State Board of

Education}}, may not give preference to an online course or online course provider.

(7)

(a) Except as provided within this section, a person may not provide an inducement or incentive to a public school student to participate in the Program.

(b) For purposes of Subsection (7)(a):

(i) “Inducement or incentive” does not mean:

(A) instructional materials or software necessary to take an online course; or

(B) access to a computer or digital learning device for the purpose of taking an online course.

(ii) “Person” does not include a relative of the public school student.

 Section 6. Authorized online course providers.

The following entities may offer online courses to eligible students through the program:

(1) A charter school or district school created exclusively for the purpose of serving students online; and

(2) An LEA program, approved by the LEA’s governing board, created exclusively for the purpose of serving students online.

Section 7. Payment for an online course.

(1) For the {{first school year of operation}}, the fee for a .5 credit online course or .5 credit of a 1 credit online course is:

{{OPTION 1: fixed prices by course}}

{{OPTION 2: percentage of student’s FTE}}

(2) If a course meets the requirements of more than one course fee category described in Subsection (1), the course fee shall be the lowest of the applicable course fee categories.

(3) Beginning with the {{third year of operation}}, the online course fees described in

Subsection (1) shall be adjusted each school year in accordance with the percentage change in value of the weighted pupil unit from the previous school year.

(4) An online learning provider shall receive payment for an online course as follows:

(a) for a .5 credit online course, 50% of the online course fee after the withdrawal period described in Section 8;

(b) for a 1 credit online course, 25% of the online course fee after the withdrawal period described in Section 8 and 25% of the online course fee upon the beginning of the second .5 credit of the online course; and

(c) if a student completes a 1 credit online course within 12 months or a .5 credit course within nine weeks following the end of a traditional semester, 50% of the online course fee.

(5)

(a) If a student fails to complete a 1 credit course within 12 months or a.5 credit course within nine weeks following the end of a traditional semester, the student may continue to be enrolled in the course until the student graduates from high school.

(b) To encourage an online course provider to provide remediation to a student who remains enrolled in an online course pursuant to Subsection (5)(a) and avoid the need for credit recovery, an online course provider shall receive a payment equal to 30% of the online course fee if the student completes the online course before the student graduates from high school.

(6) Notwithstanding the online course fees prescribed in Subsections (1) through (3), a school district or charter school may:

(a) negotiate a fee with an online course provider for an amount up to the amount prescribed in Subsections (1) through (3); and

(b) pay the negotiated fee instead of the fee prescribed in Subsections (1) through (3).

(7) An online course provider who contracts with a vendor for the acquisition of online course content or online course instruction may negotiate the payment for the vendor’s service independent of the fees specified in Subsections (1) through (3).

Section 8. Withdrawal from an online course.

(1) An online course provider shall establish a start date for an online course, including a start date for the second .5 credit of a 1 credit online course.

(2) A student may withdraw from an online course:

(a) within 20 school calendar days of the start date, if the student enrolls in an online course on or before the start date established pursuant to Subsection (1); or

(b) within 20 school calendar days of enrolling in the online course, if the student enrolls in an online course after the start date established in Subsection (1).

(c) within 20 school calendar days of the start date of the second .5 credit of the online course.

(3)

(a) If a student withdraws from a 1 credit course as provided in Subsection (2) the online course provider shall receive payment for the student’s completion of .5 credit of the 1 credit course in the same manner as an online course provider receives payment for a student’s completion of a .5 credit online course as described in Subsection 7(4).

(b) An online course provider shall refund a payment received for the second .5 credit of an online course if a student withdraws from the online course pursuant to Subsection (2)(c).

Section 9. Plan for the payment of online courses taken by private and home school students.

(1)

(a) The State Board of Education shall deduct funds allocated to the student’s primary LEA of enrollment to pay for online course fees.

(b) Funds shall be deducted under Subsection (1) in the amount and at the time an online course provider qualifies to receive payment for an online course as provided in Subsection 7(4).

(2) From money deducted under Subsection (1), the State Board of Education shall make payments to the student’s online course provider as provided in Section 7.

(3) The Legislature shall establish a plan, which shall take effect beginning on July 1, {{of the date specified in Section 4(3)(b)}}, for the payment of online courses taken by a private school or home school student.

Section 10. Course credit acknowledgement.

(1) A student’s primary LEA of enrollment and the student’s online course provider shall enter into a course credit acknowledgement in which the primary LEA of enrollment and the online course provider acknowledge that the online course provider is responsible for the instruction of the student in a specified online course.

(2) The terms of the course credit acknowledgement shall provide that:

(a) the online course provider shall receive a payment in the amount provided under Section 7; and

(b) the student’s primary LEA of enrollment acknowledges that the State Board of Education will deduct funds allocated to the LEA in the amount and at the time the online course provider qualifies to receive payment for the online course as provided in Subsection 7(4).

(3)

(a) A course credit acknowledgement may originate with either an online course provider or primary LEA of enrollment.

(b) The originating entity shall submit the course credit acknowledgement to the State Board of Education who shall forward it to the primary LEA of enrollment for course selection verification or the online course provider for acceptance.

(c) A primary LEA of enrollment may only reject a course credit acknowledgement if:

(i) the number of online course credits exceeds the maximum allowed for the year as provided in Section 5, except where allowed under Subsection 11(5);

(ii) the online course is not consistent with the student’s IEP, if the student has an IEP; or

(iii) the online course is not consistent with the student’s international baccalaureate program, if applicable.

(d) An online course provider may only reject a course credit acknowledgement if:

(i) the student does not meet course prerequisites; or

(ii) the course is not open for enrollment.

(e) A primary LEA of enrollment or online course provider shall submit an acceptance or rejection of a course credit acknowledgement to the State Board of Education within 72 business hours of the receipt of a course credit acknowledgement from the State Board of Education pursuant to Subsection (3)(b).

(f) If an online course provider accepts a course credit acknowledgement, the online course provider shall forward to the primary LEA of enrollment the online course start date as established under Section 8.

(g) If an online course provider rejects a course credit acknowledgement, the online course provider shall include an explanation which the {{State Board of Education}} shall forward to the primary LEA of enrollment for the purpose of assisting a student with future online course selection.

(h) If a primary LEA of enrollment does not submit an acceptance or rejection of a course credit acknowledgement to the State Board of Education within 72 business hours of the receipt of a course credit acknowledgement from the State Board of Education pursuant to Subsection (3)(b), the State Board of Education shall consider the course credit acknowledgement accepted.

(i) Upon acceptance of a course credit acknowledgement, the primary LEA of enrollment shall notify the student of the acceptance and the start date for the online course as established under Section 8.

(ii) Upon rejection of a course credit acknowledgement, the primary LEA of enrollment shall notify the student of the rejection and provide an explanation of the rejection.

(j) If the online course student has an individual education plan (IEP) or 504 accommodations, the primary LEA of enrollment shall forward the IEP or description of 504 accommodations to the online course provider within 72 business hours after the primary LEA of enrollment receives notice that the online course provider accepted the course credit acknowledgement.

(4)

(a) A primary LEA of enrollment may not reject a course credit acknowledgement, because the LEA is negotiating, or intends to negotiate, an online course fee with the online course provider pursuant to Subsection 7(6).

(b) If a primary LEA of enrollment negotiates an online course fee with an online course provider before the start date of an online course, a course credit acknowledgement may be amended to reflect the negotiated online course fee.

Section 11. Online course credit hours included in daily membership.

(1) Subject to Subsection (2), a student’s primary LEA of enrollment shall include online course credit hours in calculating daily membership.

(2) A student may not count as more than one FTE, unless the student intends to complete high school graduation requirements and graduate early.

(3) A student who enrolls in an online course may not be counted in membership for a released-time class, if counting the student in membership for a released-time class would result in the student being counted as more than one FTE.

(4) Except as provided in Subsection (5), a student enrolled in an online course may earn no more credits in a year than the number of credits a student may earn in a year by taking a full course load during the regular school day in the student’s primary LEA of enrollment.

(5) A student enrolled in an online course may earn more credits in a year than the number of credits a student may earn in a year by taking a full course load during the regular school day in the student’s primary LEA of enrollment:

(a) if the student intends to complete high school graduation requirements, and exit high school, early, in accordance with the student’s education/occupation plan (SEOP); or

(b) if allowed under local school board or charter school governing board policy.

Section 12. Administration of statewide assessments to students enrolled in online courses.

(1) A student enrolled in an online course that is a course for which a statewide assessment is administered shall take the statewide assessment.

(2)

(a) The State Board of Education shall make rules providing for the administration of a statewide assessment to a student enrolled in an online course.

(b) Rules made under Subsection (2)(a) shall:

(i) provide for the administration of a statewide assessment upon a student completing an online course; and

(ii) require an online course provider to proctor the statewide assessment.

Section 13. Report on performance of online course providers.

(1) The State Board of Education, in collaboration with online course providers, shall develop a report on the performance of online course providers, which may be used to evaluate the Statewide Online Education Program and assess the quality of an online course provider.

(2) A report on the performance of an online course provider shall include:

(a) scores aggregated by test on statewide assessments taken by students at the end of an online course offered through the Program;

(b) the number and percentage of the online course provider’s students who complete online courses within the applicable time period specified in Subsection 7(4)(c);

(c) the pupil-teacher ratio for the combined online courses of the online course provider.

(3) The State Board of Education shall post a report on the performance of an online course provider on the Statewide Online Education Program’s website.

Section 14. Dissemination of information on the Statewide Online Education Program.

(1) The State Board of Education shall develop a website for the Program which shall include:

(a) a description of the Program, including its purposes;

(b) information on who is eligible to enroll, and how an eligible student may enroll, in an online course;

(c) a directory of online course providers;

(d) a link to a course catalog for each online course provider; and

(e) a report on the performance of online course providers as required by Section 13.

(2) An online course provider shall provide the following information on the online course provider’s website:

(a) a description of the Program, including its purposes;

(b) information on who is eligible to enroll, and how an eligible student may enroll, in an online course;

(c) a course catalog;

(d) scores aggregated by test on statewide assessments taken by students at the end of an online course offered through the Program;

(e) the number and percentage of an online course provider’s students who complete online courses within the applicable time period specified in Subsection 7(4)(c);

(f) the online learning provider’s pupil-teacher ratio for the online courses combined.

Section 15. Time period to enroll in an online course.

(1) To provide an LEA and online course providers with estimates of online course enrollment, a student should enroll in an online course, or declare an intention to enroll in an online course, during the high school course registration period designated by the LEA.

(2) Notwithstanding Subsection (1) and except as provided in Subsection (3), a student may enroll in an online course at any time during a calendar year.

(3)

(a) A student may alter a course schedule by dropping a traditional classroom course and adding an online course consistent with course schedule alteration procedures adopted by the student’s primary LEA of enrollment or high school.

(b) A school district or high school’s deadline for dropping a traditional classroom course and adding an online course shall be the same deadline for dropping and adding a traditional classroom course.

Section 16. State Board of Education — Rulemaking.

The State Board of Education shall make rules that:

(1) establish a course credit acknowledgement form and procedures for completing and submitting to the State Board of Education a course credit acknowledgement; and

(2) establish procedures for the administration of a statewide assessment to a student enrolled in an online course.

Section 17. Review by legislative auditor general.

The legislative auditor general shall conduct a review and issue a report on the

Statewide Online Education Program after the conclusion of the {{third school year of operation}}.

Section 18. Report of noncompliance — Action to ensure compliance.

(1) The state superintendent shall report to the State Board of Education any report of noncompliance of this part made to a member of the staff of the State Board of Education.

(2) The State Board of Education shall take appropriate action to ensure compliance with this part.

Section 19. Agreements for online instruction.

(1) In addition to offering online courses to students through the Statewide Online

Education Program, a school district or charter school may enter into an agreement with another school district or charter school or a consortium of school districts or charter schools to provide online instruction to the school district’s or charter school’s students.

(2) Online instruction offered pursuant to Subsection (1) is not subject to the requirements of this part.

Drafting Notes

This language was taken from Utah Code Title 53A Chapter 15 Sections 1201-1217.

Keyword Tags: Digital Learning, Education Reform, Education Task Force, K-12, Online Learning

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