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Ohio Could Pick and Choose Operators for New Online Schools

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Monday, December 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Ohio was one of the earlier leaders in online education, and now there are more than 30,000 Ohio students enrolled full-time in online schools.

Today there's a moratorium on opening new online schools. That moratorium goes away in January, allowing up to five new online schools to open. The plan had been for the Ohio Department of Education to select those new schools by lottery.

But last week the Ohio House approved a measure that would allow the head of the Ohio Department of Education to pick new school operators.

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School operators "demonstrating experience and quality" -- and previous experience running online schools in Ohio -- would be given preference. The legislation does not define "experience and quality."

Here's how the legislation reads now. It still faces approval by the Senate and by Gov. John Kasich:

(2) The superintendent of public instruction shall approve applications for new internet- or computer-based community schools from only those applicants demonstrating experience and quality.
The superintendent shall adopt rules prescribing measures to determine experience and quality of applicants in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. The measures shall include, but not be limited to, the following considerations:

(a) The sponsor's experience with online schools;
(b) The operator's experience with online schools;
(c) The sponsor's and operator's previous record for student performance;
(d) A preference for operators with previous experience in Ohio.

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