Bill clarifies correspondence school rules

Posted: Sunday, May 05, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill aimed at preventing the Department of Education and Early Development from toughening rules for statewide correspondence schools passed the House on Friday.

The measure would put in law key elements of a compromise set of regulations agreed to in March by the department and correspondence school administrators.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jeannette James, R-North Pole, said the measure is intended to provide assurance to correspondence school parents that the department won't back out of the compromise.

''We tried to put as much of the regulations into the bill as we could actually to keep them from changing it after we go home,'' James said.

The department came under fire when it proposed new regulations last fall for 10 school districts that offer state-funded correspondence courses to students outside their districts.

One area of concern was whether students could get credit for courses using religious materials purchased by parents without schools funds. Parents also worried about how closely the schools would be required to monitor students' work.

The bill calls for local school boards to approve the textbooks and other materials used in the schools but states specifically that parents are not prevented from buying other textbooks and materials not provided by the district.

It also calls for school personnel to monitor students' progress, with student work being graded at least quarterly by a certified teacher.

House members supported the bill unanimously. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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