DETROIT - More students will earn high school credit online and off campus in Michigan in 2009 due to a pilot program allowing some school districts to bypass "seat time" requirements, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Two dozen conventional and charter public school districts applied for waivers that would allow more online education, the Free Press reported, and 12 were approved. The waivers relax the requirement that students be in a school building for nearly 1,100 hours each school year and also increases the limit on online courses taken outside a school building during a semester.

"That would be so much easier," Kayla Jacques, 18, of Waterford, told the Free Press. The state hopes that the waivers will help alternative education students like Jacques, according to the Free Press, as well as students struggling to meet new high school graduation requirements. Teacher monitors are assigned to track student progress, though students generally can access the online class where and when they like, the Free Press reported.

"What we're going to learn is not only which kids do well, but what kinds of support a district can give them to help them succeed in a virtual learning environment," said MaryAlice Galloway, senior adviser to the chief academic officer at the Michigan Department of Education.

SOURCE:
The Detroit Free Press, "Waivers free students to study online, off-campus," Jan. 4, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "New high school graduation requirements in action," May 6, 2008

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