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Bill Would Require High Schoolers To Take Virtual Courses

Supporters of the bill say it would allow colleges to reach out to high school students and offer them courses before they graduate.

Indiana high schoolers would be required to complete at least one virtual course to graduate under a bill currently in the state legislature.

The bill says, school corporations must offer high schoolers three virtual courses from the Core 40 curriculum, the state’s basic requirement for graduation, beginning next year. Schools could either operate their own virtual courses or purchase them from outside vendors.

Gary Democratic Representative Vernon Smith says he understands the need to better prepare students for the online courses they will need to take at the college level but thinks the requirement should come from classes outside the Core 40.

“It would give the flexibility of the school corporation to allow one of these online universities to offer a free course for those students to get them interested in going there and completing their work online with their university,” he says.

Smith says he thinks some schools will have a tough time paying for the implementation of virtual learning. But the bill’s author, Columbia City Republican Senator Jim Banks, says schools might even save money using those courses.

“We’re talking about an innovative type of learning, but we’re not talking about innovative technology,” he says. “I mean, I’m pursuing an online graduate degree currently and all I have to do is log on to a website. There’s no school in the state of Indiana that doesn’t have the capability to do that.”

The bill passed the Senate and is currently in a House committee.

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