Online schooling in Maryland, part deux
Got an interesting call related to the online learning advocacy group I wrote about earlier this week.
Maryland Senator James C. Rosapepe filed a bill today titled "Funding Formula to Expand K-12 Online Education," which he says aims to build on the state’s already existing Maryland Virtual School. MVS provides online classes at the high school level.
"Basically, Maryland is way behind" when it comes to promoting online courses in public schools – especially when compared to states like Florida and other countries, Rosapepe said in a phone interview.
Part of the reason for that, Rosepepe said, is that the funding structure hasn’t kept up with the kids. So he’s drafted a bill to start catching up, and provide the money for virtual schooling to grow swiftly as the demand increases. For the students taking online classes, he proposes, 90 percent of the per-pupil spending that would normally go to the traditional schools would be directed to the virtual one. In other words, he said, the money would follow the student.
The proposal also calls for some money for an initial expansion of course offerings, ideally coming from the federal education stimulus funds, he said.
Besides providing access to more courses – including the ones that usually don’t get enough students enrolled for a traditional classroom – the virtual school also has the potential to save taxpayers money in the long run, Rosapepe said, citing the hundreds of millions state and local government pay annually for school construction.
When I get an official number for the proposed legislation, I’ll post a link.