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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Online Schools

In the second edition of our textbook, the federalism chapter discusses distance learning.  Some relevant information is available at Online Schools: Florida:
Florida’s Department of Education is one of the largest, most influential educational systems in the United States. In Florida there are almost 70 public school districts, hundreds of private schools, ten public universities, and over 40 more private and state colleges -- and that’s not counting Florida’s many community and technical colleges. The government has for many years put emphasis on offering a spectrum of resources to Floridian students, and the Florida Board of Governors oversees the expansive State University System of the region.

Florida is one of the country’s few states that have opted to join the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s (ESEA) Flexibility clause. The clause allows a local government to disregard parts of the No Child Left Behind Act if they can prove that doing so will better serve a student’s education. The provisions in the ESEA allowed Florida to pass a bill that regulates and promotes charter online schools. With this bill, students who are homeschooled or attend schools that are poor performing can take free credited courses within online schools in Florida.
In 1997 the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) became the first web public school in the nation. Many of Florida’s online schools soon followed suit, offering free tuition and hundreds of classes ranging from basic required subjects to electives like world languages and art. Online students have many resources available to them including academic advising, school newspapers and literary magazines, student clubs, and comprehensive virtual libraries. Online educational and entertainment activities, such as a Shakespeare Festival and Earth Day festivities, are held on a regular basis.