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Eye On Boise

Idaho now looking at requiring 2 online courses for graduation, down from eight

Idaho's tech-focused “Students Come First” school reform plan originally envisioned requiring all Idaho students to take eight online classes to graduate from high school, though that number was later dropped to four, and then left open; Gov. Butch Otter has expressed interest in students taking a dozen online courses or more. Now, a task force of the state Board of Education has recommended setting that number at just two courses, one of which must be asynchronous, meaning it's conducted online at the student's own schedule, as opposed to a live video class on a set schedule. “That will be two online credits for the high school career,” state Department of Education official Luci Willits told the “Students Come First” Technology Task Force this morning. “That is their recommendation.”

If the State Board of Education approves the recommendation in August, it will go out for public comment, and then likely imposed as a rule, which would take effect immediately though lawmakers still would review it in January. “It is important for this committee to know what the state board has decided, and that is two online credits for graduation,” Willits told the task force. She noted that that could change, depending on the full board's action, but it's the likely path, and task force members should consider it as they make their plans. The task force will need to begin drafting its recommendations for implementing the reform program by October, Willits told the group.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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