Virginia High Schools to Require Online Courses

Virginia high school students will face an interesting new requirement starting in the fall of 2013. In order to graduate, all students must take some sort of online class.

The Virginia Beach School Board pitched the idea about a year ago, but tabled the proposal after siding with opponents who believed the requirement would penalize students who didn’t have internet access at home.

The state’s General Assembly recently approved the idea despite the School Board’s vote, making the proposal a statewide requirement, arguing that the experience would benefit all students bound for college and the workplace.

The state and schools will have one year to determine the specifics of implementing the requirement. All students in Virginia schools have access to libraries, computer labs and Virtual Virginia, a program of web-based courses organized by the state’s Department of Education.

Deputy Secretary of Education for the state Javaid Siddiqi noted that digital learning is being infused many schools across the country. “We want to make sure all students are exposed to this mode of instruction,” he said.

Students may choose to either complete noncredit-bearing courses to fulfill this new requirement or a “digital unit within a brick-and-mortar course,” according to Siddiqi.

Some opponents worry about the cost of implementing the system in each school and whether the requirement will pose problems for unmotivated students who struggle with time management.

According to a poll on HamptonRoads.com, 65 percent of voters believe students should not be required to take an online course before receiving a diploma and 31 percent believe the requirement is a good idea. Do you have an opinion? Vote in the poll and tell us your thoughts in the comments below.