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eLearning Update: Infrastructure, Reviews, and Universities

Just in case you haven't been keeping up with all the online learning news hitting the wires this week, here's a few stories that have made the rounds.

• Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna has proposed a number of reforms to overhaul education for students in that state, including a pay-for-performance plan for teachers as well as supplying all 9th graders with laptops and requiring them to take at least two online classes. However, some educators in the state fear that the lack of technology infrastructure in Idaho could put some students at a disadvantage. "Many of our students don't have Internet access, and many others only have access to dial-up. Speaking as a former user of dial-up, I know that's not ideal," said Dick Cvitanich, superintendent of the Lake Pend Oreille School District, in the story.

• The Minnesota Department of Education will conduct a review of all online schools that receive state aid, reports this Star Tribune article. The call for reviews came after the department improperly released private data on some 20 students at the BlueSky Online School. The leak occurred on Nov. 2, although officials say they were informed of the data compromise this week. The reviews were requested by Gov. Mark Dayton in an effort to learn more about online schools in Minnesota, says the article. There are more than 8,000 students enrolled with 24 online learning providers, according to the article.

• George Washington University and K12 Inc. have teamed up to launch a fully online prep school for high schoolers. Classes started on Jan. 18 with 18 students. GWU's college of education will be conducting research on the online school, called the George Washington University Online High School, to learn more about online instruction methods. The school is targeting college-bound, highly motivated students, and the curriculum is primarily honors, Advanced Placement, and elective courses.

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