Domestic, Ethics, For-Profit, High school / Secondary 2, Legislation, Required, Student Loans, Students, Unemployment - Written by on Thursday, October 13, 2011 17:34 - 2 Comments

Who Knew Britney Spears Attended A Nebraska’s Online High School?

by Mr. Carls via Flickr under CreativeCommons

Some early adapters to the world of distance learning, correspondence courses and online classes are rural states in the United States like Nebraska, South Dakota and Maine. Here is an interesting story from Nebraska on the topic. Who knew that, “The University of Nebraska- Lincoln’s Independent Study High School has been operating since the 1920s, offering courses first by mail, and more recently, online.” ??? Public radio station KVNO in Nebraska gives this report:

Most of its students are from outside Nebraska – including people in all 50 states and more than 100 countries who want an American diploma, or people whose schedules haven’t permitted a traditional high school education, like entertainer Britney Spears in her younger years. But 11 percent of its course enrollments are from Nebraska – 2,800 in the last two years.

Now, the high school is involved in a virtual partnership, testing demand for online courses for Nebraska students through a pilot program offering them for free. High School Director Barbara Wolf Shousha said that in general, Nebraska schools do a good job of meeting students’ needs on their own. But, she added, “There are, however, always those situations where there isn’t a match – where there’s a very high-performing student who desires curriculum options that the school doesn’t have, or alternative students that aren’t performing well because of the emotional noise of a high school classroom. And they are better suited for the online, individual instruction.”

Reporter Fred Knapp points out that Nebraska is teaching more students in online or settings other than traditional schoolhouses.  But he wonders how far the trend will go and who will pay for this trend. A 2006 law allows for state lottery money to help pay for online classes and systems. Legislators in Nebraska are looking for more answers as well though.

One track is electronically connecting schools that offer particular courses – maybe advanced math, or a foreign language – to others that lack them. Gordon Roethemeyer, executive director for distance education of the Educational Service Unit coordinating council, said that last year, more than 400 courses were exchanged like that, using methods including real-time video conferencing.

While cost might seem like an issue for video conference equipment, Roethemeyer said it pays for itself… and there is a business model that works:

“The return on investment is such that schools find that they can pay for a $15,000 video conferencing system really over one year through the cost savings that would be realized where they’re sharing a teacher with another school, (and) perhaps tuition generated if that’s part of the agreement,” he said.

To read more or listen to a radio segment on this story, go to KNVA News:

http://www.kvnonews.com/2011/10/where-will-virtual-schools-end-up/

By way of full disclosure, NET is a member of the Nebraska Virtual Partnership, providing a digital library for the effort.



2 Comments

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Paul Glader
Oct 14, 2011 8:27

it appears Justin Timberlake may also have attended the Nebraska program: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_Britney_Spears_graduate_high_school

Paul Glader
Oct 14, 2011 8:28

It would be great to develop a list of celebrities in music, film, sports etc. who attended online high schools. The list is long as many people with talent at a young age have to find alternatives to high school. Please send leads our way.

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