Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Colorado Legislature Struggles With How to Handle the Cyber-charters

Colorado House Bill 12-1124 was approved by a vote of 13-0 on February 13th. If it becomes law it will require the Colorado Department of Education to hire a "Colorado-based consultant" to do a study of online K-12 education in the state. Cyber-charters in Colorado enroll thousands of students whose state allotment travels primarily out of state to the coffes of K12 Inc and Connections.

The study would have to be completed by January 31, 2013 and must address, among other things:

  • Eligibility for and access to digital learning
  • Quality of digital learning curriculum and instruction
  • Funding models for digital learning that create incentives for performance
  • Existing state laws and regulations governing digital learning
  • Existing accountability measures as they relate to online students

The bill was sponsored by a Republican legislator from a small town who serves as Chair of the House Education Committee. Some view the proposed legislation as a means of balking tougher legislation that would closely regulate the cyber-charters. That legislation may still be in the works, and is expected from Sen. Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) who began studying the online K-12 movement some months ago.

Gene V Glass
University of Colorado Boulder
Arizona State University

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