Hawaii’s E-School—which offers online courses to students who would not be able to take classes in certain subjects otherwise—is facing new challenges in the era of the No Child Left Behind Act.
The program, which serves 200 to 400 students each year from the 182,000-student state-operated school system, was designed primarily to deliver courses to students on Oahu’s less populated neighbor islands. Now, it is faced with requests to offer more courses, and for all its courses to be made available to every school in the state. It currently offers about 20 courses, and has plans to expand those offerings. State education officials also see the E-School as a viable option for meeting some of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
“This would be one way of getting highly qualified teachers into a school,” says Kerry Koide, an educational specialist in the state education department’s advanced-technology-research branch, referring to the law’s requirement that public school teachers meet certain standards.
With the state’s economy improving, Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, has also released some money for schools to use for special projects involving technology. The education department received $2 million to continue working on getting every teacher either a desktop or laptop computer for using the state’s new student-information system. The system is necessary for generating the kind of data now required by the federal government. About a dozen schools are involved in a pilot project in which every teacher has a classroom computer.
In addition, a few middle schools are piloting a new national certification test on software applications and computer-hardware knowledge for 8th graders, who will eventually be required to pass the test.