Oregon and Online Learning: Governor’s Reset Cabinet Final Report

The following excerpt is from page 45 of “Final Report: Governor’s Reset Cabinet” (Oregon, June 2010). The focus of this section is “virtual education”:

Virtual Education

Oregon should create and fully support a statewide public virtual learning system. The use of online or virtual learning has come of age in recent years. Today’s technology makes it possible to provide educational opportunities to remote areas of the country. Florida, for instance, has over ten years of experience with providing a statewide virtual system. In that state’s experience, the highest demand areas are in credit recovery and dual credit classes, where students earn both high school graduation and college credit. The average student is not enrolled full-time in a virtual program, but takes one or two online classes per semester.

A 2008 survey by the Association of Educational Service Agencies indicated that the greatest need for access to virtual instruction is in the areas of secondary math and science. Small and rural districts find it especially difficult to hire all of the highly qualified teachers necessary for these academic areas. The survey also showed a strong demand for online courses that provide college credits that are transferable to all state institutions. Oregon could provide more dual credit classes aligned with the Oregon Transfer Module and the Associates of Arts Oregon Transfer, as well as Career Technical Education classes through community colleges.

The Oregon State Board of Education recently received a report indicating that the cost of providing online teaching options is calculated to be 70-80% of the cost of providing the same quality of education in a traditional bricks-and-mortar setting. This indicates real potential to expand educational opportunity for the state’s students, while freeing more resources to go back into the classroom.

Recommendation: Create a statewide public virtual education option. Require every district to provide access to this option if the district does not have its own internal program.

A statewide public virtual option should be established to direct that all public dollars going to support students taking online classes go to a public online delivery system. State certified teachers, supervised by school officials, could provide the instruction. School districts may be open to allowing students to participate if each local school district has the authority to determine where the student will attend and full budgetary transparency for the program is assured, as with current school district budgets.

2 Responses

  1. […] distance education, elearning, online learning, virtual K-12 schools, by Daniel Christian Oregon and Online Learning: “Governor’s Reset Cabinet” Final Report – from Educational Technology and Change […]

  2. I may be reading too much between the lines here. I see the first sentence, “Oregon should create and fully support a statewide public virtual learning system.” and the initial sentence of the final paragraph, “A statewide public virtual option should be established … public dollars … go to a public online delivery system” as mandating that this system will be totally public and not even partially private.

    Is Oregon going into business in competition with Insight Schools (of Portland, OR), K12, Kaplan, and others? Are they following the Florida model? Will other states duplicate this step?

    Online education continues to generate excitement.

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