A subcommittee of the board has already recommended trustees pass the rule, despite heavy opposition at public hearings across the state this summer. The rule would require students starting with the class of 2016 to take at least two credits online to graduate.
The board previously had a deadline this past Thursday from the state Department of Administration to vote on the proposed rule for the measure to go before the Idaho Legislature during the 2012 session, which starts in January. The deadline was extended to Friday.
Under the rule, one of the two required online classes must be taught remotely, without a teacher present in the classroom. The rule now headed to the full board was revised to remove an outright ban on the teacher ever being present in the classroom with the students during course time.
The board is drafting online course requirements as part of new education changes that were signed into law this year with backing from public schools chief Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter.
Luna had wanted students to take as many as eight online course credits as part of his education changes, but that provision was ditched during the 2011 session amid opposition from parents, teachers and some lawmakers. An effort to require students to take four online credits also failed.
The legislation that was approved instead directs the state Board of Education to draft standards governing the online course requirements.
“This was not the board’s legislation, but the legislation does direct the board to promulgate rules,” said Tracie Bent, a planning and policy officer for the board.
Luna, who sits on the board, had said after the 2011 session that four online credits would be the starting point. But the board directed a subcommittee to decide how trustees would proceed in April and that panel mostly discussed making one or two online credits a requirement to graduate high school.
Idaho is also introducing teacher merit pay and shifting money from salaries toward classroom technology, phasing in laptops for teachers and students, as part of Luna’s education changes, which also limit union bargaining rights.
The changes were targeted in a referendum campaign earlier this year and will go before Idaho voters in November 2012. (AP)