Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB3533
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Full Text of SB3533  98th General Assembly




State of Illinois
2013 and 2014


Introduced 2/14/2014, by Sen. Matt Murphy


New Act

    Creates the Course Choice in Education Act. Requires the State Board of Education to establish the State Course Choice Program, a program in which the State Board shall maintain a catalog that provides a list of all courses authorized and available to students in this State. Defines who is an eligible funded student and eligible participating student. Under the program, requires the State Board to establish a submission and authorization process for providers to be offered through the program and to evaluate providers. Requires a school district to (i) provide information to parents and the public on the availability of course choice options and eligibility guidelines, (ii) submit eligibility policies to the program, (iii) establish policies and procedures whereby credits earned through the course provider shall appear on a student's official transcript and count fully towards diploma requirements, and (iv) make available to all students the program during the annual course enrollment process for that school district. Sets forth provisions concerning provider criteria, provider monitoring and reauthorization, interstate course reciprocity, other State Board responsibilities, responsibilities of and limitations on a school district, funding, and rules. Effective August 1, 2015.

LRB098 16924 NHT 51999 b






SB3533LRB098 16924 NHT 51999 b

1    AN ACT concerning education.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Course
5Choice in Education Act.
6    Section 5. Legislative declaration. The legislature finds
7and declares the following:
8         (1) It is in the public interest that all school
9    children have access to the type and format of education
10    that best meets the needs of the individual student, that
11    each student has different needs that merit a variety of
12    course choices on the individual student level, and that
13    this State has the right, responsibility, duty, and
14    obligation to accomplish the objective of a quality,
15    individualized education for all children.
16        (2) Enrollment of children in course work offered by
17    course providers is in compliance with the objectives of
18    this State's compulsory attendance law; course providers
19    make a significant educational and economic contribution
20    towards meeting the goal of a quality, individualized
21    education for every school child; and this State has
22    recognized and encouraged that contribution through online
23    education and blended learning models of learning.



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1        (3) High quality, effective course providers exist in
2    this State.
3        (4) Course providers can offer a quality,
4    individualized education to students, and it is in the
5    public interest to offer students the means of accessing
6    the educational opportunities offered by course providers
7    by providing students with the public funds allocated to
8    them from local and State sources to enroll in such
9    courses.
10        (5) Postsecondary educational institutions can serve
11    as quality course providers for students who seek advanced
12    level course work or technical or vocational instruction.
13        (6) Online or virtual course providers can serve as
14    quality course providers for students who desire
15    additional access to high quality courses, especially, but
16    not limited to, students enrolled in low-performing public
17    schools, students who, for reasons of geography, may not be
18    able to exercise their right to educational choice, and
19    students who may desire an alternative schooling schedule
20    or calendar.
21        (7) Just as there is a rich diversity of students,
22    there is a rich diversity of course models, ranging from
23    online, to face to face, to blended learning. Students
24    benefit from having access to a diverse catalog of options
25    for how to best meet their unique academic needs.
26        (8) This State has a responsibility for maintaining a



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1    catalog of quality options for students.
2    Section 10. Definitions. In this Act:
3    "Eligible funded student" means any student who resides in
4this State and meets one of the following criteria:
5        (1) is attending a public school that is among the 10%
6    lowest performing schools according to State test results
7    under Section 2-3.64 of the School Code; or
8        (2) is attending a public school that does not offer
9    the course in which the student desires to enroll, as
10    determined by the State Board.
11    "Eligible participating student" means any student who
12resides in this State and meets one of the following criteria:
13        (1) was eligible to attend a public school in this
14    State in the preceding semester or is starting school in
15    this State for the first time; and
16        (2) is enrolled in a home study program approved by the
17    State Board.
18    "Open format" means a format that is platform independent,
19machine readable, and made available to the public without
20restrictions that would impede the re-use of that information.
21    "Provider" means an entity that offers individual courses
22in person or online, including, but not limited to, online or
23virtual education providers, public or private elementary and
24secondary educational institutions, education service
25agencies, private or nonprofit providers, postsecondary



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1educational institutions, and vocational or technical course
2providers, and has been authorized to provide such courses by
3the State Board of Education.
4    "State Board" shall mean the State Board of Education.
5    Section 15. State Course Choice Program; provider
6authorization process.
7    (a) The State Board shall establish the State Course Choice
8Program, a program in which the State Board shall maintain a
9catalog that provides a list of all courses authorized and
10available to students in this State. Under the program, the
11State Board shall:
12        (1) establish a submission and authorization process
13    for providers occurring on a rolling basis;
14        (2) evaluate providers to be offered through the State
15    Course Choice Program; the State Board may negotiate
16    changes in the proposal to offer a course if the State
17    Board determines that changes are necessary in order to
18    authorize the course;
19        (3) not later than 90 calendar days after the initial
20    submission date, authorize providers that:
21            (A) meet the criteria established under Section 20
22        of this Act; and
23            (B) provide courses that offer the minimum
24        instructional rigor and scope required under Section
25        20 of this Act; and



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1        (4) not later than 90 calendar days after the initial
2    submission date, provide a detailed written explanation of
3    any providers denied authorization.
4    (b) If the provider is denied authorization, the provider
5may resubmit under the provider authorization process under
6subsection (a) of this Section at any time.
7    (c) The State Board shall publish the process established
8under this Section, including any deadlines and any guidelines
9applicable to the submission and authorization process for
11    (d) The State Board shall pay the reasonable costs of
12evaluating and authorizing providers. If funds available to the
13State Board for that purpose are insufficient to pay the costs
14of evaluating and authorizing all providers submitted for
15evaluation and authorization, the State Board shall give
16priority to paying the costs of evaluating and authorizing the
17following providers:
18        (1) providers offering courses that satisfy high
19    school graduation requirements;
20        (2) providers offering courses that would likely
21    benefit a student in obtaining admission to a postsecondary
22    institution;
23        (3) providers offering courses, including dual credit
24    courses, that allow a student to earn college credit or
25    other advanced credit;
26        (4) providers offering courses in subject areas



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1    designated by the State Board as commonly experiencing a
2    shortage of teachers; and
3        (5) providers offering courses in subject areas and
4    grades designated by the State Board as high priority.
5    (e) If the State Board determines that the costs of
6evaluating and authorizing a provider will not be paid by the
7State Board due to a shortage of funds available for that
8purpose, the State Board may charge applicants a fee of no
9greater than the amount of the costs to ensure that evaluation
10and authorization occurs. The State Board shall establish and
11publish a fee schedule for purposes of this subsection (e).
12    Section 20. Provider criteria.
13    (a) A provider offering a course through the State Course
14Choice Program must:
15        (1) comply with all applicable antidiscrimination
16    laws;
17        (2) demonstrate in each subject area and grade level
18    prior evidence of delivering quality outcomes for
19    students, as demonstrated by completion rates, student
20    level growth, proficiency, and other quantifiable outcomes
21    or rigorous evaluations;
22        (3) ensure instructional and curricular quality
23    through a detailed curriculum and student performance
24    accountability plan that aligns with and measures a
25    student's attainment of student proficiency in achieving



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1    State academic standards;
2        (4) provide assurances that the course provider shall,
3    to the best of its ability, collaborate and coordinate with
4    the school district in which an eligible funded student or
5    eligible participating student is enrolled full time; and
6        (5) commit to provide electronically to the
7    participating student's school a detailed student record,
8    including grades and performance information.
9    (b) A course offered by a provider must:
10        (1) be equivalent in instructional rigor and scope to a
11    course that is provided in a traditional classroom setting;
12        (2) be aligned to State academic standards, industry
13    standards, or Common Core State Standards; and
14        (3) possess an assessment component for determining
15    student growth and proficiency.
16    (c) Additional criteria developed by the State Board may be
17used to evaluate providers, including requiring courses or
18providers to meet quality standards of the International
19Association for K-12 Online Learning, the Southern Regional
20Education Board, AdvancED, or another third party.
21    Section 25. Provider monitoring and reauthorization.
22    (a) The initial authorization of a course provider shall be
23for a period of 3 years.
24    (b) Providers must annually report the following:
25        (1) Student outcomes, growth measures, proficiency



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1    rates, completion rates for each subject area, and grade
2    level.
3        (2) Student satisfaction rates and comments.
4    (c) After the second year of the initial authorization
5period, the State Board shall conduct a thorough review of the
6course provider's activities and the academic performance of
7the students enrolled in courses offered by the course provider
8in accordance with the school's and district's accountability
10    (d) If the performance of the students enrolled in courses
11offered by the course provider pursuant to the school's and
12district's accountability system does not meet performance
13standards set by the State Board, the course provider shall be
14placed on probation for one year and shall be required to
15submit a plan for improvement.
16    (e) After the initial 3-year authorization period, the
17State Board may reauthorize the course provider for additional
18periods of not less than 3 years after thorough review of the
19course provider's activities and the achievement of students
20enrolled in courses offered by the course provider.
21    (f) The State Board may exclude a course provided by an
22authorized provider at any time if the State Board determines
24        (1) the course is no longer adequately aligned with
25    State academic standards;
26        (2) the course no longer provides a detailed and



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1    quality curriculum and accountability plan; or
2        (3) the course fails to deliver outcomes as measured by
3    student outcomes and performance on State or nationally
4    accepted assessments.
5    Section 30. Interstate course reciprocity.
6    (a) Not later than January 1, 2016, the State Board shall
7create a reciprocal course and course provider authorization
8process for students who reside in this State but seek to
9enroll in a course authorized in another state.
10    (b) The reciprocal course authorization process shall take
11into account providers or courses that:
12        (1) are of equivalent instructional rigor and scope to
13    a course that is provided in a traditional classroom
14    setting; and
15        (2) are authorized in another state through that
16    state's provider or course authorization process if the
17    criteria used are aligned to those established in Section
18    20 of this Act.
19    Section 35. Responsibilities of the State Board of
21    (a) The State Board shall:
22        (1) publish the criteria required by Section 20 of this
23    Act for courses that may be offered through the State
24    Course Choice Program;



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1        (2) using the criteria required by Section 20 of this
2    Act, evaluate courses submitted by a provider that are to
3    be offered through the catalog;
4        (3) create a list of courses authorized by the State
5    Board;
6        (4) publish, in a prominent location on the State
7    Course Choice Program's Internet website, which the State
8    Board shall create and make available to the general
9    public, the list of courses offered by authorized providers
10    that are available through the State Course Choice Program
11    and a detailed description of the courses;
12        (5) publish for the general public, in accordance with
13    disclosure requirements adopted by the State Board by rule,
14    include as part of the provider's application as a
15    provider, and include in all contracts negotiated pursuant
16    to this Section the following:
17            (A) information about the curriculum of each
18        course;
19            (B) course policies and procedures;
20            (C) certification status of all administrative and
21        instructional personnel;
22            (D) hours and times of availability of
23        instructional personnel;
24            (E) student completion and promotion rates;
25            (F) student, educator, and school performance
26        accountability outcomes;



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1            (G) technology and broadband requirements; and
2            (H) the cost for participation; and
3        (6) establish and publish a timeframe or specific dates
4    by which students are able to withdraw from a course
5    provided through the State Course Choice Program without
6    the student or the provider incurring a penalty.
7    The information required in clause (A) of subdivision (5)
8of this subsection (a) and underlying data shall be published
9online in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded,
10indexed, and searched by commonly used web search applications.
11    The State Board may enter into an agreement with other
12states or organizations to create and operate one or more
13aspects of the catalog and State Course Choice Program.
14    (b) To ensure that a full range of courses, including
15Advanced Placement courses, are offered to students in this
16State, the State Board:
17        (1) shall create a list of those subjects and courses
18    designated by the State Board as essential knowledge and
19    skills or designated as content requirements;
20        (2) shall enter into agreements with school districts,
21    charter schools, private or nonprofit providers, and
22    public or private institutions of higher education for the
23    purpose of offering the courses through the State Course
24    Choice Program; and
25        (3) may develop, authorize the development of, or enter
26    into contracts with other providers for the licensing,



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1    development, or purchasing of additional courses that:
2            (A) are needed to complete high school graduation
3        requirements;
4            (B) are not otherwise available through the State
5        Course Choice Program; and
6            (C) are needed to help students achieve State
7        academic standards in grades kindergarten through 12.
8    (c) The State Board shall maintain on its official Internet
9website, in a prominent location, an informed choice report.
10The report must:
11        (1) be updated within 30 calendar days after additional
12    provider authorizations;
13        (2) describe each course offered through the State
14    Course Choice Program and include information such as
15    course requirements and the school year calendar for the
16    course, including any options for continued participation
17    outside of the standard school year calendar;
18        (3) contain student and parental comments and feedback
19    reporting requirements as detailed under Section 25 of this
20    Act; and
21        (4) be published online in an open format that can be
22    retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched by commonly
23    used web search applications.
24    (d) The State Board shall submit an annual report on the
25State Course Choice Program and the participation of entities
26to the Governor, the chairperson and minority spokesperson of



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1the Education Committee of the Senate, and the chairperson and
2minority spokesperson of the Elementary & Secondary Education
3Committee of the House of Representatives. The report shall, at
4a minimum, include all of the following information:
5        (1) The number of students participating in courses
6    authorized under this Act.
7        (2) The number of authorized providers.
8        (3) The number of authorized courses.
9        (4) The number of courses available by subject and
10    grade level.
11        (5) The number of students enrolled in courses by
12    subject and grade level.
13        (6) Student outcome data, including completion rates,
14    student learning gains, and student performance on State or
15    nationally accepted assessments, by subject and grade
16    level and by provider.
17    (e) The report required under subsection (d) of this
18Section and underlying data shall be published online in an
19open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and
20searched by commonly used web search applications.
21    (f) The State Board shall create a process for common
22course numbering of all courses listed in the State Course
23Choice Program and for determining whether courses are in
24compliance with Section 20 of this Act. For courses offered by
25postsecondary educational institutions that are authorized
26course providers, the State Board shall consult with the Board



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1of Higher Education.
2    Section 40. Responsibilities of and limitations on a school
4    (a) A school district shall:
5        (1) notify parents of the availability of course choice
6    options in correspondence that is written in simple and
7    accurate language that parents can understand;
8        (2) provide information by letter or e-mail to the
9    student's home and by at least 2 other means, such as
10    community flyers, newspaper postings, or another method;
11        (3) publish information and eligibility guidelines on
12    the school district's Internet website; and
13        (4) submit eligibility policies to the State Course
14    Choice Program.
15    (b) Each school district shall establish policies and
16procedures whereby for each eligible funded student the
17following shall apply:
18        (1) Credits earned through the course provider shall
19    appear on the student's official transcript and count fully
20    towards diploma requirements.
21        (2) State-mandated assessments shall be administered
22    to each such student attending a public school.
23    (c) Each school district shall make available to all
24students the State Course Choice Program during the annual
25course enrollment process for that school district.



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1    (d) No school district may actively discourage,
2intimidate, or threaten an eligible funded student or an
3eligible participating student during the course enrollment
4process for that school district or at any other time.
5    (e) The performance data of students who are enrolled in a
6course pursuant to this Act shall be counted in the school
7performance score for the school in which the student is
8enrolled full time. The performance data shall be reported to
9and published by the State Board for each course provider in an
10easy to understand format and on the State Board's Internet
12    (f) The State Board shall adopt rules necessary to
13implement this Section, including without limitation the
14requirements of school boards and school districts whose
15students enroll in courses offered by authorized course
17    (g) Nothing in this Act may be construed to prevent a
18school entity from establishing its own online course or
19program in accordance with this Act.
20    Section 45. Funding.
21    (a) Per-course funding shall be determined as follows:
22        (1) The course provider shall receive a per-course
23    amount for each eligible funded student of an amount equal
24    to the market rate, as determined by the course provider
25    and reported to the State Board, but no greater than



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1    one-sixth of 90% of the per pupil State aid funding amount
2    each school year for the school district in which the
3    eligible funded student resides. Any remaining funds,
4    except those specified in subsection (2) of this subsection
5    (a), for that student shall be divided evenly and returned
6    to this State and to the school district in which the
7    student resides. Transfers of course payments shall be made
8    by the State Board on behalf of the responsible school
9    district in which the student resides to the authorized
10    course provider.
11        (2) For each student, an amount equal to 10% of the per
12    pupil State aid funding amount shall remain with the school
13    district in which the student is enrolled full time.
14        (3) The course provider shall receive payment only for
15    the courses in which the student is enrolled. The remaining
16    funds for each of these students, up to the maximum amount
17    for the school district in which the participating student
18    resides or actual tuition and fees, as applicable, shall
19    remain with the participating school in which the student
20    is enrolled.
21        (4) The State Board shall proportionally reduce the fee
22    for any student who withdraws from a course prior to the
23    end of the course.
24    (b) The course provider may charge tuition to any eligible
25participating student in an amount equal to the amount
26determined by the course provider and reported to the State



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2    The course provider shall accept the amount specified in
3subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this Section as total
4tuition and fees for the eligible participating student.
5    (c) Funding shall be based upon student success, as
7        (1) Fifty percent of the amount of tuition to be paid
8    or transferred to the course provider shall be paid or
9    transferred upon student enrollment in a course and 50%
10    shall be paid or transferred upon course completion
11    according to the published course length.
12        (2) If a student does not complete a course according
13    to the published course length in which the course provider
14    has received the first payment pursuant to subdivision (1)
15    of this subsection (c), the provider shall receive 40% of
16    the course amount, as defined in subdivision (1) of this
17    subsection (c), only if the student completes the course
18    and receives credit for the course prior to leaving school
19    or graduating from high school. The remaining 10% shall
20    remain with the school district in which an eligible funded
21    student is enrolled full time.
22    Section 90. Rules. The State Board may adopt any rules
23necessary to implement and administer this Act.
24    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect August 1,