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Md. senate panel votes down compulsory online education bill

March 19, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — An amended version of a bill that tasked a state education council with finding out more about the resources needed to support a compulsory online course requirement in state high schools or a course that blended online learning and traditional teaching has been voted down by a senate committee.

But Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said Tuesday that the bill was “just an effort to keep the discussion moving.”

“I think the idea that the senate committee had was that they were going to contact the virtual learning council ... and suggest that this would be a worthwhile topic that didn’t necessitate a piece of legislation,” he said.

The Maryland Advisory Council for Virtual Learning was created as a result of a bill introduced by Shank in the 2012 session of the Maryland General Assembly.

A meeting with the superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education is also in the offing to discuss the issue, Shank said.

The original bill introduced by Shank during the current legislative session required high schools students to take one compulsory online course before they graduated, but it was amended after opposition from several statewide groups including the MSDE and the Maryland State Education Association.

A cross-filed version of the amended bill, filed by Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, has cleared some key proceedings in the House of Delegates, but its future is in doubt given the negative vote by the senate committee on a similar version of the bill.

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