State Board member Don Soltman, who made the motion to approve the online class requirement, said, “For the record, during the 21-day comment period there were … additional comments,” generally saying that they “felt there should not be an online learning requirement.” He said, “Additional concerns were expressed” about financial impacts on school districts and on the Idaho Digital Learning Academy.
Board member Milford Terrill said he had a discussion about the rule with his grandson. “He's a home schooler, and he is now in one of our universities here in the state of Idaho, and he's writing a paper in his English class on why this is so important to kids, to have these credits in being able to do stuff online, because he, everything he does, his assignments, everything that the teacher has to say, he has to go online to find that out. And now he's doing a speech, as we speak, in communications class as to why this is important. And I found that very interesting, a kid 19 years old, is writing an epistle on why this is good and giving speeches on why we should have this in our institutions, and in our K-12 program. So I thought that was pretty good.”
The board's unanimous vote means Idaho students now must take two online classes to graduate from high school. The Legislature will review the rule during its session that starts in January, but it already passed the school-reform legislation that called for the new online-class requirement.