Divisive Online Ed. Expansion Clears Senate

(KCPW News) A bill that gives Utah students more options for taking online courses cleared the Senate yesterday. But as KCPW’s Whittney Evans reports, some people are opposed to the price tag, and others say it’s a voucher program in disguise.

  1. Ellen Walker

    SB65 would LIMIT student access to online education, destroy Utah jobs, and harm local public high schools. Contact your legislators and tell them to vote NO!
    1) This bill LIMITS the number of online classes a student can take per year without getting special permission (either from the local school that must give up funds to pay for the online classes, or from the State Board of Education). Since when did Republicans become in favor of imposing more government restrictions? Our current system allows students to take as many online classes as they need or want.
    2) A voucher program would let parents spend education dollars for private schools, but that money would stay local. This bill would allow Utah taxpayer dollars to go to out-of-state, for-profit online schools, effectively outsourcing Utah teaching jobs and taking money out of our economy. It makes me wonder – does Senator Stephenson get campaign contributions from the K12 corporation?
    3)Currently most high schools encourage students to take online classes to work toward early graduation, make up failed classes, or supplement what is available locally. Schools do so mainly because the currently available online classes don’t hurt local budgets and programs. The bill asks high schools to cut their own budgets every time a student signs up for an online class. It’s just a back-door way to cut more funding from education. Do we want organizations cooperating for the good of students, or competing for money?
    4) All of this damage is being done in the name of saving each person in Utah seven cents per year.

  2. Carolyn Sandstrom

    As the effects of the diversion of the WPU sink in, school districts will be forced to cut jobs and programs. The legislature continues to add requirements for graduation and shrink the electives. Students have been forced to supplement their education with online courses.

    If the districts are now required to pay for these courses with WPU funds, schools will implement policies that limit choices to “take more” and “learn more”. Students who opt to do financial literacy electronically with WPU may find that their school is only willing to let them take 7 classes that year instead of 8, since this is what the school district is receiving for them. Or, if this is legally prohibited then the programs will be cut to the point that whatever the student had wanted to take (computer programming or french or play productions, for example) will no longer be available.

    This bill really isn’t about choice in online education, it is about who and how it will be paid for. Students are currently able to choose to take other online courses, but not at the expense of their school district. The EHS is free.

    It seems that the legislature is trying to penalize school districts rather than “free” students.