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Senate panel backs revision to ‘Students Come First’ law to let online course teacher be in building

The Senate Education Committee has voted unanimously in favor of SB 1237, a proposal from the state Board of Education to delete a line from the “Students Come First” reform law that, in a definition of what an “online course” is, added the line, “in which the instructor is not physically located at the school or place in which the student is receiving instruction.” Traci Bent of the board office said since online courses are defined in state board rules, the line was unnecessary in the law, and that it could cause problems like prohibiting situations where a teacher was loading online course material in an office in the same school where students were taking the course.

Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, sponsor of the original law – which is up for a referendum vote in November that could overturn it - said, “The thought is to provide distance education,” and the line originally was included “to make sure that there was some distance there.” But he said a southern Idaho consortium of high schools that's sharing teachers and sharing courses online ran into problems with the clause. “The work that's being done by that group of schools is important to recognize, and this kinda got in the way of it,” Goedde said. The bill now moves to the full Senate.


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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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