ExcelinEd in Action Thanks TN Senator Dolores Gresham for Filing Bill to Expand Learning Opportunities
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Tennessee Senate Education Chair Dolores Gresham filed SB 2497, a bill that would expand education opportunities for students by creating access to a wide range of courses from approved sources, such as community colleges, training and vocational centers or online providers. House Subcommittee on Education Instruction & Programs Chairman Roger Kane filed a companion bill, HB 1879, on Tuesday.
Based on the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s model policy, SB 2497 allows students to select from a broad range of courses, in various formats – including online, face-to-face or blended – to meet their unique preferences and needs, and receive both state funding and full credit for completing courses from state-approved providers.
ExcelinEd in Action National Legislative Director J. Alex Kelly released the following statement.
“The demand for personalized learning has never been greater. Course Access can provide our students with the advanced placement, career and technical, and dual enrollment courses they so critically need to prepare them for the 21st century economy. We thank Senator Gresham for filing SB 2497 to benefit Tennessee’s students and encourage lawmakers to give all students the opportunity to enrich and customize their education. We must close the equity of access gap that exists in education today.”
This course access bill builds upon the success of local programs to make course opportunities available statewide. Nationally-recognized Putnam County Schools (PCS) transformed a small and struggling online credit recovery program into a suite of online and blended offerings coordinated by the district across schools. The district has seen meaningful gains in its graduation rates. Read more about the success of PCS in Leading in an Era of Change: On the Ground.
More about Course Access:
- Course Access is a state-level program that provides K-12 students with access to a wide range of quality courses from diverse, accountable providers.
- For example:
- A high-school student may take accounting at the local community college.
- A student can take AP Physics online if it is not offered at the school.
- A student can earn an industry certification in welding from a training center supported by local business leaders.
- Twelve states currently have a course access or course access-like policy.
- One school can never individually offer every course to every student — and unfortunately, too many schools don’t event offer basic ones.
- Between 10 and 25 percent of American high schools do not offer Algebra 1 & 2, geometry, biology or chemistry, and the U.S. Department of Education found that only 50 percent of high schools offer calculus, and only 63 percent offer physics.
- These courses, which can be delivered in online, blended, or face-to-face environments, may not otherwise be available to students.
- A Course Access program simplifies the search and enrollment process for students by creating a statewide, dynamic online catalog with information about providers and courses.
- Courses in these programs can be provided by a number of different entities such as teachers in the state’s districts, charter schools, colleges and universities, employers, nonprofits and private course providers.
- Watch a video on how Course Access Policies are reimagining education, and see the policy in action in Ascension Parrish School District, Louisiana and Guthrie Virtual School, Texas.