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Aurora Institute

iNACOL Policy Update – Fully-Online Schools Still an Option in Tennessee & Oklahoma Passes Teaching Certificate Reciprocity

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Maria Worthen, Susan Gentz

Issue(s): State Policy, Create Enabling Conditions for Competency-Based Education, Issues in Practice

April 15 – April 24, 2015
By Maria Worthen (
[email protected]) and Susan Gentz ([email protected]).

There was good news out of Tennessee this week, which passed a bill to continue to allow students to access fully online public schools. It’s important for students to have a full range of learning opportunities available to them, through blended learning, supplemental online courses, and fully online schools.

Oklahoma also made positive strides this week with the enactment of a law to allow for true teacher reciprocity, allowing highly qualified teachers licensed in other states to obtain an Oklahoma teaching license without jumping through further hoops.

Many states are slated to adjourn within the next two weeks, although some states may not actually meet these deadlines.

For example, Iowa is scheduled to adjourn on May 2, but that will depend, in part, on whether the Senate and House can agree on an education funding allocation. In Iowa, the elected officials’ per diem expires after May 2, and after that, legislators will have to pay out-of-pocket for their own expenses. This is usually enough of an incentive for legislators to seek a compromise; however, this issue looks like it might keep the session going longer than most had anticipated.

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.


  • A bill in New Hampshire would allow more districts to participate in the Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) system of local assessments that was approved under the US Department of Education’s ESEA flexibility waiver.


  • The House Education Committee in California will consider a bill that would allow for increased flexibility in instructional time in site-based charter schools on April 29.
  • A bill in Indiana that was amended to establish the “Innovation Network School” was passed over to the House, where the House did not agree with the Senate amendments. A conference committee has been appointed to agree on a compromise version of the bill.
  • A bill in Iowa that would establish a broadband grant program passed the House on April 21.
  • Tennessee’s Governor signed a bill into law on April 17 that extends the Virtual Public Schools Act to June 30, 2019.
  • A bill in Oklahoma that would require the State Board of Education to issue a teaching certificate to a person who holds a valid out-of-state certificate and who meets the requirements to be considered highly-qualified, was signed into law by the Governor on April 21.
  • A Nevada bill that requires the State Board of Education to adopt an alternative performance framework to evaluate certain alternative schools serving at-risk populations of students was amended and passed by the Senate Education Committee on April 20.
  • A bill in Florida that establishes requirements for digital classrooms passed the Appropriations Committee on April 21.
  • A Texas bill that made changes to the Texas Virtual School Network passed the Senate Education Committee on April 23.


  • It’s been a quiet week on Capitol Hill as the Senate takes a breather from ESEA reauthorization in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee last week. In case you missed it, the HELP Committee unanimously passed a bill to reauthorize ESEA last Thursday. Last week, we wrote about the bill’s issues of interest to the field of blended, online, and competency education.


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.