February 23rd is Digital Learning Day. It’s appropriate then that on Thursday, the House took up Senate File 35 on virtual education. The bill, which updates guidelines for student enrollment in online classes, passed Committee of the Whole in the House, but not without being amended. An appropriation for $250,000 to establish a centralized statewide management system was removed.
Laurel Ballard from the Department of Education explained the need for the system, saying, “It was clear from the Distance Education Task Force that developed the bill — and stakeholders across the state — that creating a statewide learning management system would be crucial to ensuring equity in education for all students, especially those students in small and rural schools.”
The Wyoming Department of Education does plan to move forward on the system even without the appropriation. But Ballard explained the lack of funds might limit the support available to districts since they are faced with the challenge of tracking outcomes for students in both online and brick and mortar classes.
The amended Senate File still needs a second and third reading from the House before being passed.