The Digital Learning Act passed the Senate with a bi-partisan vote of 36-15. The bill was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) is expected to make Georgia a national leader in online elearning.
“This bill would significantly broaden learning opportunities for Georgia students. Based on current virtual classes already being offered we have the opportunity to increase student achievement at significantly lower costs,” said Sen. Rogers. “Right now, there are 16,000 students participating in this program, and that number is quickly growing. These programs are vital to ensuring that our students are able to meet the ever-changing demands of the 21st century marketplace.”
SB 289 focuses on the importance of virtual and digital learning in today’s modern learning environment. Under this bill, students entering the ninth grade during the 2013–2014 school year will complete at least one online learning course prior to graduation. Options to meet this requirement include the following:
• Online courses offered by the Georgia Virtual School;
• Online duel enrollment courses offered by a postsecondary institution; or
• Online courses offered by a provider approved by the Georgia Department of Education
The bill also requires all end-of-year core subject assessments to be administered online by the 2014-2015 school year, a move expected to dramatically reduce the opportunity for cheating.
In addition, the passage of SB 289 would allow local school systems to enter into contracts with virtual learning providers approved by the Georgia Department of Education.
The bill has received support from the Department of Education, specifically from Bob Swiggum, the Chief Information Officer for the Georgia Department of Education and Thomas Wilson, Director of Governmental Affairs at the Department of Education.
“SB289 provides more opportunities for Georgia’s students to participate in online courses, a common instructional method of post-secondary institutions,” said Bob Swiggum, Chief Information Officer for the Georgia Department of Education. “Our students will be better prepared for success, instructional costs will be reduced, and a wider variety of courses will be offered.”
Sen. Rogers, along with several of his Senate colleagues, are working to find solutions to address the educational needs of 21st Century students. This bill is a key component to the Republican Caucus’ ongoing commitment to education reform.
For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2012
Natalie Dale, Director