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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Virtual School... District?

In the early part of last month, Ray Schroeder, the editor of Online Learning Update, posted an item "Oregon Senate passes bill to create ‘virtual school district’- Associated Press." It pointed to an article in The East Oregonian that was entitled "Senate passes bill to create ‘virtual school district’."

This article states that "the bill allows the Oregon Department of Education to create an 'Oregon Virtual School District,' which would contract with established programs to provide selected online courses." The purpose of this virtual school district would be "to make sure that students at rural and mid-sized schools can take the same advanced courses that are offered to their peers at larger high schools."

Now this is the only piece that I have seen on this particular measure, and I haven't had the time to go searching for the legislation or any more articles about it ot get a better sense of what exactly is happening here.

Some basic questions that I have about this virtual school district... Is this the first step to a state-wide virtual high school? Is this a measure to assist in individual school districts or even individual schools in creating their own virtual schools?

If it is the former, this should be seen as a positive step towards achieving the purpose that they have indicated above. However, if it is the latter than it is a waste of "$2 million from the state schools budget" because of the fractured approach that Oregon will have decided to take. Does anyone know what the intent of this virtual school district is?

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