Thursday, January 25, 2024

State Senators file legislation to limit virtual school days

Senators file legislation to limit virtual school days

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 23rd) –Sen. Kristen Thompson, R-Edmond, and Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, have filed legislation to limit virtual instruction in Oklahoma’s public schools. Under Senate Bill 1768, instruction would only take place virtually in the event of inclement weather, staff shortages caused by illness, building maintenance issues, or if found necessary by school administrators.

“As a mom of three children who attend an Oklahoma public school, I have seen firsthand the lack of quality instruction that occurs on a remote learning day. Virtual days can be extremely stressful for parents, students, and teachers who want traditional, in-person learning.  We have a responsibility to our kids to ensure they receive a high-quality education, every single day. Furthermore, if Oklahoma taxpayers are footing the bill for a full day of instruction, yet our students may be receiving only 30 minutes of lessons, that is absolutely a misuse of taxpayer dollars,” Thompson said. 

When a school district decides to use a virtual day, instead of a traditional snow day, school districts would be required to provide a minimum of five and a half hours of instruction to K-8th students and six hours to high school students. Additionally, more than half of the online or digital instruction must be synchronous under the provisions of SB 1768.  

“If having a virtual or remote learning day is resulting in students receiving little or no educational instruction, then we’re ignoring our responsibility to our students and abusing the trust of the taxpayers,” Paxton said. “This legislation helps make sure that any abuse of the system is stopped.” 

The Legislature can consider SB 1768 in the 2024 session, which begins Feb. 5.


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