Distance Learning | News

New Report Briefs States on Filling School Course Gaps

Many K-12 students can't take the classes that will help them prepare for college because their schools don't offer those courses. For example, physics is offered at less than two-thirds of high schools in the United States. Calculus is only available at about half of high schools. Among schools serving the largest percentages of African-American and Latino students, one in four lacks Algebra II classes and one in three lacks Chemistry.

According to a new report from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), one solution to the gaps lies in setting up a "course access" program. This approach consists of online, blended and face-to-face classes that are funded by public education dollars and delivered by non-school providers, such as for-profit companies, non-profit organizations and individual instructors.

At present, only seven states have the formal policies and programs in place to provide course access to students beyond what's available in their school systems. iNACOL would like to see that number grow.

The 17-page "Course Access: Equitable Opportunities for College and Career Ready Students" report lays out the "essential elements" of a course access program; explains how it works within a public education system, including how it's funded; and provides "model legislative principles" for adding course access to state education laws.

"iNACOL's report highlights the myriad ways in which a course access program can open up access to high-quality, rigorous coursework for students," said President and CEO, Susan Patrick. "Course access initiatives recognize that in the 21st century, high-quality education opportunities can be increased everywhere, at any time, in any place and at any pace to best meet students' needs."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.