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04.27.11 'Bullish' on Digital Learning in Illinois

Collin Hitt is senior director of government affairs with the Illinois Policy Institute. He is also "bullish" about the future of virtual education in Illinois.
Here's what he said in a recent Chicago Tribune story about online learning in Chicago.
"There is no real, robust, state-led effort in online learning yet in Illinois … (but) I can say with confidence that at this time next year, legislators in Springfield will be talking about online learning as a policy priority," said Collin Hitt of the Illinois Policy Institute.
"Internet-based education has grown slowly in Illinois. The state introduced a virtual high school in 2001, intended mainly for students who wanted to take advanced classes their own schools didn't offer.
"Today, its online program offers 120 courses to grades 5 through 12, but only about 1,000 of the state's 1.2 million public school students in that age range sign up each semester."

In a post on the Illinois Policy Institute blog, Hitt added, "I am so bullish is because of a new national campaign, Digital Learning Now, which the Illinois Policy Institute is a founding member of."
Click here to read his complete post.

04.01.09 Illinois  Virtual High School is Growing
The Illinois  Virtual High School is  an online program that has grown in the last six years to provide high school courses for students in 83 of the state's counties.
The course offeringsof IVHS run the gamut from math, science, economics and computer technology to fine arts, history and English composition. The program includes Advanced Placement and dual credit courses. All students register and earn credits through the high schools where they live.
Tuition to IVHS is paid either by the students or by the school districts. IVHS faculty members meet all the credentialing requirements of educators in school buildings, and are also trained in distance-learning techniques. They know, for example, how to tell if a student has done his own assignments or has been assisted by a parent or friend. Tests are taken in-person with IVHS proctors administering them.
The virtual high school concept was controversial at the outset, but that appears to have subsided.



Illinois has a state-led virtual school, the Illinois Virtual School (IVS). It offers supplemental online courses to students in grades 5-12.

 In 2009, Illinois enacted its first online learning legislation; it allows school districts to establish “remote educational programs.”

Illinois does not have a virtual charter school that offers courses to students throughout the state.
Illinois has a  virtual charter school serving students in Chicago, the Chicago Virtual Charter School.The Chicago Virtual Charter School, where curriculum and academic services are provided by K12 Inc., enrolled 443 students in 2008-09.
Additionally, the Chicago public schools have a high school in which all courses are delivered in a blended learning environment, the VOISE Academy (Virtual Opportunities Inside a School Environment).  The Virtual Opportunities Inside a School Environment Academy enrolled 149 freshman during the 2008-09 school, its first year of operation. I
t expects to serve 600 students in grades 9-12 when it reaches capacity in the 2011-2012 school year.