The state of Florida is once again blazing new trails in the world of K-12 online learning. A new law “requires districts to create their own full-time virtual schools, collaborate with other districts or contract with providers approved by the state.” The headline reads “Florida starts virtual school mandate” and the accompanying article in the Miami Herald (Sept. 30) discusses the law and various reactions to the law. It is supposed to take effect in August 2009. It would have been nice if the article quoted from the actual law – I couldn’t find where the law exists in Florida statute or when the state legislature passed this law.
Julie Young, CEO of the Florida Virtual School stated, ”The rest of the country will be watching to see how it goes.” And Debra Johnson, principal of the future Palm Beach County’s virtual school added, “This is a new world, and children have different learning modalities…We need to be preparing ourselves for not only the future, but we need to be addressing students’ needs now and providing different opportunities.”
In August, Florida Virtual School and Connections Academy, the two largest virtual school providers in Florida, joined forces specifically to address the new Florida law. This article explains how the Florida Virtual School’s Connections Academy (or FLVSCA) was created specifically to help districts meet the requirements of the new state law requiring all school districts to offer full-time, online learning to public school students.
During the 2007-2008 school year, there were close to 1 million high school students who took online courses and it is predicted the by the year 2019, 50% of high school courses will be taken online. So Florida sees the present and the future…and is planning for it.