Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Please Call Your Tennessee Congressman or Senator

and ask them to support House Bill 0732, the "Virtual Public Schools Act" slated to go before the Senate Education Subcommittee today. Here is the bill:

and just because I can, here it is in clickless form:

By Brooks H

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 16, relative to virtual schools and to enact  the "Virtual Public Schools Act".

WHEREAS, meeting the educational needs of children in Tennessee's schools is of the  greatest importance to the future welfare of the state; and

WHEREAS, closing the achievement gap between high-performing students, including the gap between minority and non-minority students, and between economically disadvantaged  students and their more advantaged peers, is a significant and present challenge; and

WHEREAS, providing a broader range of educational options to parents and utilizing existing resources, along with technology, may help students in Tennessee improve their academic achievement and

WHEREAS, many school districts currently lack the capacity to provide other public school choices for students whose schools are high priority schools; now, therefore,


SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 16, is amended by deleting  the part in its entirety and by substituting instead Sections 2 through 10

SECTION 2. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Virtual Public Schools Act."

SECTION 3. The purpose of this chapter is to provide Tennessee families with an alternative choice to access additional educational resources in an effort to improve academic achievement.

SECTION 4. As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Sponsor" means an LEA or the department of education; and 

(2) "Virtual school" means an independent public school in which the school uses technology in order to deliver a significant portion of instruction to its students via the Internet in a virtual or remote setting.

SECTION 5. A virtual school may be sponsored by an LEA or the department of education may establish a virtual school. A virtual school shall be a public school and shall be provided equitable treatment and resources as any other public school in the state.

SECTION 6. A virtual school shall provide each student enrolled in the school:

(1) Access to a sequential curriculum that meets or exceeds the curriculum standards adopted by the state board of education. The sequential curriculum shall have an interactive program with significant online components;

(2) The same length of time for learning opportunities per academic year that is required by law for public school students, unless such school can show that a student  has demonstrated mastery or completion of an appropriate subject area; and

(3) Regular assessment in language arts, math, science and social studies.

SECTION 7. A virtual school shall maintain an administrative office within the state.  This office shall be considered its principal place of business.

SECTION 8. Any student who is eligible for enrollment in a public school in this state may enroll in a virtual school. Sponsors are authorized to charge tuition to any person not enrolled in a public school in this state.

SECTION 9. In order to encourage collaboration among LEAs, a virtual school is authorized to operate according to the authority granted by the Educational Cooperation Act compiled in chapter 2, part 13 of this title.

SECTION 10. A virtual school shall be evaluated annually by its sponsor based on the following criteria:

(1) The extent to which the school demonstrates increases in student  achievement according to the goals of its authorizing contract and state academic

(2) The accountability and viability of the virtual school, as demonstrated by its academic, fiscal and operational performance.

SECTION 11. This act shall take effect July 1, 2011, the public welfare requiring it.

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