Technology Law Goes, Online Class Requirement For Idaho Students Stays

Nov 9, 2012

Credit Scott Woods-Fehr / Flickr Creative Commons

Two thirds of Idaho voters Tuesday rejected a law to increase technology use in schools. Of the three propositions voted down, it was Proposition Three that failed by the widest margin. That one repeals the technology component of the Students Come First laws. But one of the most well-known parts of that law will remain in place.

State funded college credits for high school seniors are gone. A laptop for every high school student and teacher won’t happen. Then there are online classes required for graduation.

“For the time being that requirement will remain in place beginning with the ninth graders this year,” Says Marilyn Whitney a spokesperson for Idaho’s State Board of Education.

If you’re a freshman now you still have to take two online classes to graduate. Here’s why. The law that voters repealed with a loud no on Prop Three didn’t say “students have to take two online classes.” It said the State Board of Education had to make a rule requiring some online classes. The board made the rule and the legislature approved it this year. So even with the law gone, the requirement remains. The board could decide to repeal it. But Whitney says board members considered an online class requirement before Students Come First and they feel the process they used was a good one.

“To determine the number of online courses that should be required for graduation the board went out across the state, did public meetings took a great deal of public comment at those meetings and written comment before developing that rule which requires two online course or two semesters for graduation,” She says.

Whitney says she doesn’t know yet how the board will interpret the proposition vote. But she says the matter will be discussed at a meeting later this month. If the board does repeal the rule, Whitney says, it likely won’t happen until next year. Then it would need approval from the legislature in 2014.