Today, I had the privilege of presenting ExcelinEd’s Course Access model policy before the South Carolina House of Representatives Education and Public Works Committee. The committee is considering the South Carolina Course Access Act (H 5216), a bill that would expand educational opportunities for public school students in the Palmetto State by creating access to a wide range of courses from approved sources, such as colleges and universities, training and vocational centers, other public schools or online providers.
Course Access provides public school students with expanded course offerings across learning environments from diverse, accountable public and private providers. Students select from a broad range of courses, in various formats – including online, face-to-face, or blended. Placing a strong focus on student outcomes, participating students receive both state funding and full class credit for completing a state-approved Course Access program.
High school students – especially those who attend rural, urban or under-resourced schools – often lack access to advanced science and math classes, college preparatory courses, foreign language classes, career technical classes in high-demand job sectors and other specialized subjects taught by expert teachers. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only half of America’s high schools offer calculus and just under two-thirds offer physics.
Offering elective, advanced placement, career and technical and even remedial courses requires each school to balance student demand, the supply of qualified teachers and the availability of time and space in the building. A Course Access program can shift that balance by aggregating demand for individual courses across schools and districts, and taking advantage of technology’s potential to virtually and flexibly connect students, teachers and content.
Learn more about ExcelinEd’s Course Access Policy by visiting www.www.excelined.org/course-access.
Director, Next Generation Reforms
The Foundation for Excellence in Education
More about Course Access:
- Course Access is a state-level program that provides K-12 students with access to a wide range of quality courses from diverse, accountable providers.
- A Course Access program simplifies the search and enrollment process for students by creating a statewide, dynamic online catalog with information about providers and courses.
- Courses in these programs can be provided by a number of different entities such as teachers in the state’s districts, charter schools, colleges and universities, employers and nonprofits.
- Watch a video on how Course Access Policies are reimaging education and see the policy in action in Ascension Parrish School District, Louisiana and Guthrie Virtual School, Texas.
- Read ExcelinEd’s white paper Leading in an Era of Change: On the Ground, which profiles 10 districts and charters in seven states utilizing Course Access or Course Access-like strategies to maximize the use of resources, better serve students and ensure districts are evolving with the needs of the 21st century student.
- Read ExcelinEd’s latest policy paper on the changing demography of South Carolina and how that will affect the future of education in the state: Hurricane Gray Swirls Toward South Carolina: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future Of South Carolina Education.