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Going to School Online

OPB | Feb. 24, 2010 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:16 p.m.

Between four and five thousand K-12 students in Oregon go to school online. They attend one of a number of online public charter schools sprinkled through the state. The Oregon Connections Academy, based in Scio, and the Oregon Virtual Academy in North Bend have waivers from the State Board of Education to accept students from anywhere in Oregon.

Others, like the Clackamas Web Academy or the many All Prep Academies, only draw from within their own school districts. Of course the relationship with the local district isn’t always perfect. Take what’s happening in Sisters, as an example.

But even as some schools face potential closure, administrators, educators, politicians, parents, and pupils agree on one main thing: online education as a whole is here to stay. But how should it exist?

One answer could come from the Legislature, which is voting on House Bill 3660. This is a follow-on to last session’s Senate Bill 767, which stopped enrollment at online public charter schools. House Bill 3660

imposes requirements on virtual public charter schools related to budget and accounting system, tracking of student progress, administrator and teacher qualifications, student and school records and notification of enrollment and withdrawal.

What’s your experience with online education? What are the benefits and drawbacks? What requirements should be placed on online charter schools? In days of strained education budgets how do online charter schools fit into the bigger picture of education across the state?

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