Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Digital Learning, Acceleration Bills Advance

Some high school students could have an expedited path to high school graduation, while others could graduate already trained for jobs if a pair of House bills gets final approval in the Senate.

Rep. Kelli Stargel's Acceleration Bill, HB 7059, passed the House on Monday and is awaiting action in the Senate.

If passed, it could allow K-12 students to progress through their schooling faster.

Another bill proposed by Stargel — which passed the House on Tuesday and is on its way to the Senate — is the Digital Learning bill, HB 7063, where students could take courses online either during school or after.

"They really go hand-in-hand," said Stargel, R-Lakeland. "For highly functioning students, who says they have to go to school for 180 days a year or take courses only during the school day?"

HB 7058 would create the Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning (or ACCEL) to provide accelerated courses or instruction to eligible students.

The program would allow students to skip grades or receive mid-year promotions. It would also allow eligible students to skip certain subjects if they passed an exam, similar to CLEP tests that can be taken for college credit.

It would allow early graduation for students after completing 24 credits and the standard graduation requirements. The bill also states that a district would not lost any of its full-time equivalency funding if a student graduates early.

Stargel said the bill would not only benefit students who plan on going to college, but as early as middle school students could enroll in vocational classes.

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