Huffpost Education

Tony Bennett, Indiana Schools Superintendent, To Propose Online Course Requirement

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TONY BENNETT INDIANA
AP

Indiana's superintendent of public instruction is suggesting one more high school graduation requirement, one that means kids won't be showing up in the classroom.

Superintendent Tony Bennett is expected to announce in his annual State of Education speech tonight a proposal that requires Indiana high schoolers to take at least one online course before graduating.

Implementing online coursework would prepare students for a digital and technological age in education and the economy, Bennett told The Indianapolis Star.

"If we don't address this issue of technology for all children, I think we're going to be setting up the next achievement gap," he said.

The types of courses offered online, and how course assignments are to be completed, would be at the discretion of individual school districts, according to The Star.

If Bennett's proposal is accepted, Indiana would join the ranks of several other states that have recently announced moving toward mandatory online learning. Florida's recently passed Digital Learning Now law requires that high school students take at least one online course before acquiring a diploma, among other educational measures. Idaho's Board of Education preliminarily voted in favor Friday of a policy that would require high school students to earn at least two online credits to earn a diploma.

"We think Indiana ought to jump into the lead on this thing," Bennett told WIBC.

According to WISH-TV, Bennett is also slated to propose scholarships and early graduation initiatives, a new method of calculating students in schools, expanding courses offered and expanding educational focus on technology.

Reform has been at the helm of an agenda for Indiana's education officials. The state Board of Education approved a plan last month that takes over three high schools and one middle school after years of academic probation.

The Indiana State Teachers Association has also filed a lawsuit in attempt to block a voucher program that allows families to use some tax dollars toward private school tuition. When schools opened last month, thousands had jumped from Indiana public schools to private ones under the voucher program.

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