A proposed Washington law would stop state funding of online education for students in grade 5 and younger - a change that runs counter to both public demand and research findings, according to a Washington State University education researcher.
Kimberly Coy is a doctoral candidate who has taught elementary school both online and in traditional classrooms. She has won national recognition for her research into effective online teaching methods.
"Research into online education nationwide is showing high levels of engagement and interaction for students, including those in kindergarten through fifth grades and students with learning disabilities,” she said.
With great potential for students to succeed online, and with more parents requesting Web-based learning for their children, Coy thinks it is unwise to deny online instruction in the early elementary years. The proposal is part of House Bill 1431, requested by the state superintendent of public instruction and now under consideration in the Washington Legislature.
"We shouldn’t be limiting the opportunities for students if we want to prepare them for 21st century careers,” Coy said.