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Tennessee

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
 
07.01.11 Virtual Public Schools Act Becomes Law

The "Virtual Public Schools Act" became law in Tennessee on July 1.

The law, which was known as HB 230, allows for  the creation of virtual charter schools.

The law allows for-profit companies to operate virtual schools in Tennessee. For-profit operators must have a Local Education Agency (LEA) sponsor.  The law also mandates that virtual school operators "provide instructional materials, access to a computer and printer, and an Internet connection."

Virtual school operators must also maintain an administrative office in Tennessee.

Opponents to the new law say that money will be siphoned away from traditional public schools which are struggling to make ends meet.

The Virtual Public Schools Act was part of a series of education reform bill passed in Tennessee this year. Laws lifting enrollment caps on charter schools and allowing for creation of more charter schools also became law on July 1.



05.13.11 Governor has Virtual Class Bill on His Desk

A Republican-sponsored bill dealing with "virtual classes" in public schools, which passed the state Senate unanimously last month, inspired some hostile questioning from Democrats on the House floor before being approved by a 69-24 vote.
All votes against the bill came from Democrats.
"The Virtual Public Schools Act," HB 1030, now goes to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature. If Haslam signs the measure, and he is expected to do so, the measure would allow for-profit companies to operate virtual schools in Tennessee. For-profit operators must have a Local Education Agency (LEA) sponsor.  The law also mandates that virtual school operators "provide instructional materials, access to a computer and printer, and an Internet connection."
Virtual school operators must also maintain an administrative office in Tennessee.



03.26.10 New Goal: To Enroll 4,000 Tenn. students in virtual courses
 
 Tennessee's e4TN has a new name and a new goal.
 The online education program will now be called e4000TN, and thanks to money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the state can expand its online initiative.
 The new goal: enroll 4,000 students in online courses.
  “It’s important that we expand access to these courses for students across our state,” Education Commissioner Timothy Webb said. “These programs can help our children succeed in many different ways – through credit recovery, advanced coursework and schedule flexibility.”
  e4TN was launched in December 2005 as a grant-funded, online learning initiative. It provides funding for online courses to seven districts in the state. Each of these sites share grant-funded seats for e4TN courses with surrounding districts.
 According to the chattanoogan.com.  the new program funds 60 additional districts as well as three regional offices in Hamilton, Wilson and Tipton Counties. The e4000TN concept expands the initial design and adds opportunities for expanded outreach, regional consortiums, hybrid, Advanced Placement opportunities, regionally based teacher mentors, and student and district support services. It also increases funded opportunities for Tennessee students to take online courses.  

Archive

HISTORY

Tennessee has a state-led virtual school. It is called e4TN. It serves all 156 school districts in Tennessee and some district-level online programs.In 2009-10 e4TN served 1,754 students in grades 6-1.

 e4TN, is funded through an annually renewable grant that was originally awarded to the program in partnership with the Hamilton County Department of Education in 2005. Funding for the 2008-9 school year was $1.76 million,  $1.6 million of which is from a federal grant.

For years, Tennessee did not have a virtual charter school that offers courses to students throughout the state. But that change after July 1, 2011, when HB 1030 became law.

Called "The Virtual Public Schools Act," the law allows the creation of virtual charter schools. A few days later, the Tennessee Virtual Academy, a K-8 virtual school based in Union County, announced that it would be ready for operation in fall 2011.

The law allows for-profit companies to operate virtual schools in Tennessee. For-profit operators must have a Local Education Agency (LEA) sponsor.  The law also mandates that virtual school operators "provide instructional materials, access to a computer and printer, and an Internet connection."

Virtual school operators must also maintain an administrative office in Tennessee.


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