This podcast is an interview with David Chaney of Epic Charter Schools in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 25, 2010. In early-June 2010, Oklahoma governor Brad Henry signed Senate Bill 2319 into law which radically changes the groundrules for online, virtual learning in Oklahoma. In this podcast, David discusses the model of virtual learning which is now available FREE for ANY K-12 student in the state of Oklahoma through Epic One on One Charter School, and a little background about how the law in Oklahoma changed about two weeks ago to permit statewide online enrollments. David explains each student in Oklahoma receives a “student allocation” from the state, which is calculated based on an “Average Daily Membership” formula. Oklahoma K-12 students can enroll full-time OR part-time in the online program offered by Epic Charter Schools, no matter where they live in our state. The law requires public school districts in which students are residents permit students to still participate in after school, extracurricular activities (including sports) even if the student is enrolled fulltime in an online charter school. Oklahoma law currently restricts charter schools from physically existing anywhere outside the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas, because of population restrictions written into the law. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s website, “State law authorizes charter schools in 12 school districts: Broken Arrow, Edmond, Jenks, Midwest City/Del City, Moore, Mustang, Oklahoma City, Owasso, Putnam City, Sand Springs, Tulsa and Union Public Schools.” The constitutionality of this charter school restriction was legally challenged for a time by the Tulsa Public Schools, but that challenge was eventually dropped. Based in part on the model of Golden Valley Charter School in California, David and others have created a charter school model which does NOT lock parents and students into the use of curriculum from a single or sharply defined list of curriculum providers. Instead, parents are permitted to direct the expenditure of a portion of their child’s “student allocation” from the state (approximately $1000) through Epic Charter School, to select online curriculum as well as other instructional materials appropriate to the student’s grade level, skills, and needs. These instructional materials CAN include a laptop computer. In fact, one of the marketing messages of Epic is, “Ask how to get a free computer!” Epic Charter School is sponsored by the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond, but is an official charter school in the Oklahoma City Public Schools. To my knowlege, none of our major media outlets in the state (newspapers or television stations) have run an article or a segment on Senate Bill 2319 and its implications for free, publicly funded online learning options in our state. This situation brings to my mind the ideas in Clayton Christenson’s book, “Disrupting Class.” The learning landscape of the twenty-first century continues to become even more interesting, and online learning is clearly a big part of the disruptive changes which are reshaping public education today. Refer to the podcast shownotes for links and resources referenced in this podcast interview.

Show Notes:

  1. Epic One on One Charter School in Oklahoma City Public Schools
  2. Senate Bill 2319, officially titled “Schools; requiring State Board of Education to adopt certain rules relating to online courses” (2010 Oklahoma legislation signed into law in June 5, 2010) – I can’t find a direct link to show the final version of this adopted legislation. Search http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/WebApplication2/WebForm1.aspx for “SB2319″ to view some information in webpage format and access links to other documents in RTF and DOC formats.
  3. E-lobbyist tracking page for SB2319
  4. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton M. Christensen
  5. My notes from Michael Horn’s keynote at COSN 2009 in Austin, Texas
  6. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch
  7. Oklahoma State Department of Education’s information page on Charter Schools (does not list Epic Charter Schools as of 25 June 2010)
  8. Golden Valley Charter School in California
  9. TTUISD: Texas Tech University Independent School District

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