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Why does high-tech California lag in online education?

State senator wants all California schoolchildren to have an hour a day of online education, bemoans high-tech state's low-tech education.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor on

If the state of California has the most entrepreneurial, tech-minded population in the U.S., why doesn't the public school system reflect that? That's the question that Sen. Abel Maldonado, a Republican, posits in an opinion piece in the Mercury News.

That deficit has prompted Maldonado to sponsor Senate Bill 155, which will give every high school student an hour of classroom instruction online as a part of his or her normal school day. With access to online classes, students be able to have one-on-one sessions with teachers, do make-up work or take a class not offered in the regular school.

Maldonado cited the success of the Online Classroom Pilot Program, which has 40 participating schools throughout the state, and 1,700 students.

Overall, these students had more courses to choose from, including advanced placement and remedial courses, more individualized interaction with teachers, and more flexibility with their study habits," writes Maldonado.

The pilot program was subject to audits by the state controller and was deemed "successful in fulfilling the legislative purpose of providing equity of access for students through online course content,'' and recommended expansion of online classes statewide.

"It is ironic that California, which is widely recognized not only as the birthplace of the Internet, but also as the leader in high-technology advances, is not at the forefront of online education. Sadly, California lags behind more than a dozen other states in this area, including Florida, Michigan, Maryland and Virginia. SB 155 intends to remedy this situation and ensure that our students have equal access to educational opportunities and the ability to reach their full potential," commented Maldonado.
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