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Aurora Institute

iNACOL Policy Update – April advancements bring May signatures

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Maria Worthen, Susan Gentz

Issue(s): State Policy, Redesign Accountability Systems for Continuous Improvement

March 27 – April 3, 2015


This week’s title may not exactly be the phrase we all know, but it rings true. Some bills are moving through with ease while others have started to be referred to summer study committees or may simply be left to wither away. The increased number of bills being sent to governors for a signature is a strong indicator of spring. The number will only increase in the next couple of months.

The purpose of this blog is to share policy developments in the field of K-12 online learning, blended learning, and competency education – to highlight recent trends, enablers, identify barriers and provide an issues update. It includes a snapshot of important education policies, regulations, gubernatorial, and legislative affairs.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background information and recommendations for issues on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.


  • iNACOL is currently tracking 97 bills in 31 states.
  • Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday announced this week that he will retire, effective August 31, 2015. Through his leadership and vision, Holliday has catalyzed a transformation to student-centered learning of the state’s K-12 education system, notably through development of next generation systems of assessments and accountability.


  • Georgia adjourned on April 2.


  • There are four new bills in North Carolina this week: (1) to allow a charter school to contract with a vendor or company to perform services in connection with the operation of the charter school; (2) to exempt the North Carolina Virtual Public School from the North Carolina Umstead Act, which prohibits a government entity from advertising or selling products or services; (3) to allow homeschool and private school students to take courses from the North Carolina Virtual Public School; and (4) to encourage the State Board of Education to transition the state to a system of assessments that enable competency-based education.
  • A bill in Florida would require school districts to give preference to funding technology purchases that support the district’s compliance with the state’s technology requirements.
  • A bill in Nevada provides for an alternative accountability framework to evaluate schools.


  • The Governor in Idaho signed into law a bill that would increase the provision of online career and technical education courses to Idaho school districts on March 26.
  • The Mississippi Governor signed into law a bill that would allow the State Board of Education to authorize and approve public districts of innovation on March 31.
  • In Montana, the Governor signed into law a bill that would prohibit a school district from charging a fee to a student who enrolls in a Montana Digital Academy class required for graduation on March 30.
  • A bill that would allow for the establishment of public charter schools in Montana passed the Appropriations Committee on March 27, and passed the House on March 31.
  • A bill in Utah that would create a task force to develop a funding proposal for K-12 digital learning in the state was sent to the Governor for consideration on March 25.
  • A bill in Arkansas that would allow a school district to petition for waivers for the same levels of flexibility granted to a charter school passed the Senate.
  • A bill in Florida that relates to digital technology infrastructure planning has been put on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education docket for April 2.
  • A bill in Oklahoma that would give jurisdiction to the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board to review and certify supplemental online courses was amended and passed out of committee on March 31.


  • The United States Congress is in recess until April 13, 2015.
  • In the Senate, bipartisan Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee negotiations continue on a bill to reauthorize ESEA. We may see a bill after recess.
  • The ESEA Reauthorization bill in the House is still stalled, as members of the leadership work to put together the votes to ensure passage.


The iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium will be held November 8-11, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Registration opened Tuesday, March 31.

Already a member? Access the more detailed legislative highlights through the Membership Forum.

Not yet a member? Join iNACOL to gain access to this Membership Forum, job postings, announcements, grant opportunities, and the latest information from the field.