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After Idaho became only the fourth state to require high school students to take online classes last week, state education officials are working on ways to keep as much of the taxpayers money in schools as possible, reports the Associated Press.
Under the changes approved by the state Board of Education, students will take two required online credits with companies rather than the schools -- a move that supporters say will save the state money and better prepare students for college. But critics worry that the change will replace teachers with computers and funnel too much money out of public schools and into private companies, which are entitled to two-thirds of the state funding per student for that class period.
To keep more money in the schools, public schools chief Tom Luna told the AP that he’s working to create a fixed-price contract with a list of online-course providers for students to choose from. Students, however, can enroll in online courses with companies that don’t have a contract with the state, but Luna doesn’t foresee that happening often.
Idaho lawmakers will review the change in the 2012 session, and it will apply to students starting high school next fall.
The state also plans to provide every high school student and teacher with a mobile computer, such as a laptop or iPad.
Alabama, Florida and Michigan also require online classes, according to the AP.