Perhaps the most far-reaching education legislation in Florida this year isn’t getting much attention, overshadowed by bills like the parent trigger. But buzz or no, the quietly cruising “course choice” proposal is on the leading edge of a revolution in online learning.
It takes school choice and “puts it on steroids,” said Michael Horn, a leading thinker on digital education, in the redefinED podcast below.
The course choice bills in Florida are sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. They would allow providers from virtually anywhere to create state-approved courses in K-12 and higher ed, and students from virtually anywhere in Florida to take them.
Together with other online learning advances, the bills will have repercussions on how, when and where students learn; how they’re tested and funded; and how school districts fare against growing competition from charter and private schools. Things like course choice and MOOCs, Horn said, “just blow up the geographic … scheme we’ve had for where someone goes to school.”
“So actually, wherever you are, you can get the best class for you. And there will always be that for you. Because you may love the MIT course. I may love the one that has a couple Sal Khan videos … But why shouldn’t we have that best experience for us?”
This doesn’t spell the end for school districts, Horn said. In fact, it could give them a boost.