Distance Learning Commission Act Exposed

From ALEC Exposed
Jump to: navigation, search

The Distance Learning Commission Act was included in the 1995 ALEC Sourcebook of American State Legislation. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of ALECexposed.org in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

ALEC Bill Text


Several forward-thinking states have identified the need for a broadband, state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure to address specific state problems. States need a policy that maximizes infrastructure development and full public access at affordable costs. The test of successful telecommunications policy is whether the end result equips our citizens and communities with the means to better their future. The key component of such a policy is universal access to Twenty-first Century technology. Universal access is synonymous with universal opportunity. Today virtually every state has distance learning in some form, compared to fewer than 10 states as recently as 1987. The distance learning programs across the states differ significantly in terms of the technology used, goals, and the quality and effectiveness of the programs. While all states have some form of distance learning effort underway they need to resolve issues that are barriers to the use of distance learning, such as teacher certification and evaluation, and curriculum and textbook standardization.

Model Legislation

Section 1. {Title.}

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Distance Learning Commission Act,

Section 2. {Declaration of policy.}

The Legislature finds and declares as follows:

(A) It is state policy that all students in the state, regardless of economic or geographic status, deserve the educational benefits offered by distance learning through state-of-the-art technology.

(B) Distance learning programs, ranging from voice and data communication to state-of-the-art audiovisual delivery, have proven to be both innovative instructional tools and viable curriculum alternatives.

(C) The state should set clear goals and provide leadership in the development of a comprehensive distance learning policy.

(D) Without a distance learning policy, the development of innovative distance learning programs in this state will be seriously impeded.

(E) A Distance Learning Commission should be formed to develop Statewide distance learning programs and applications and to assist the Department of Education in providing technical assistance to potential distance learning providers.

Section 3. {Definitions.}

The following words and phrases when used in this Act shall have the meanings given to them in this Section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(A) “Commission” means the Distance Learning Commission established in Section 4.

(B) “Department” means the Department of Education of the state.

(C) “Distance learning” means the transmission of educational information and interaction of geographically dispersed individuals or groups through a single medium or a combination of audio, video, and data.

Section 4. {Commission.}

(A) A Distance Learning Commission is hereby established. The commission shall be composed of 13 members who shall be appointed as follows:

(1) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall appoint one representative from a county office of education.
(2) The Governor shall appoint one practicing school administrator from an organization representing state administrators, one business representative with experience in applications of technology, one practicing school teacher representing state teachers, one library media specialist from an association representing library media specialists, one public member from the state office of telecommunications or with expertise in application of technology, and one member of the faculty of a post-secondary institution.
(3) The Senate Rules Committee shall appoint one business representative with experience in applications of technology, and one practicing secondary school teacher representing technology using educators.
(4) The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint one business representative with experience in applications of technology, and one practicing elementary school teacher representing state teachers.
(5) The Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission shall appoint one regulator with knowledge and experience in telecommunications regulatory history, and one recognized consumer.

(B) Members shall serve two-year terms, with the exception of the initial appointment of the three teachers and the three business representatives, who shall serve for three years to facilitate a staggered appointment schedule in order to ensure continuity. No member shall serve for more than one term.

(C) No private business entity, school district, or employee association shall have more than one of its officers or employees serving as a member of the council.

(D) Members selected shall have the authority to represent their business, school district, or association from which they were appointed.

(E) Members shall be knowledgeable about applications of technology for learning experiences and shall be selected based on documentation of that experience.

(F) The commission shall initially meet on the first Monday of the month following the effective date of this Act. At that meeting, the members shall elect a chairperson and a three-member board of directors. Further meetings of the commission shall be held at the discretion of the members, but the board shall meet at least quarterly.

(G) Members shall receive no payment for their services, but they shall be reimbursed for pre-approved expenses incurred in the course of their duties.

(H) The department shall provide the commission with the staff necessary to fulfill its mission and goals. In addition, the commission may enlist voluntary assistance as available from citizens, research organizations, and other organizations.

Section 5. {Powers and duties of commission.}

(A) The commission shall engage in the development of a comprehensive distance learning policy. The policy shall:

(1) identify the distance learning educational and professional development needs of various educational, community; and business organizations;
(2) identify various distance learning technologies that could serve to meet educational needs;
(3) identify the role of the state in implementing the policy and in including distance learning in the state and local curricula;
(4) encourage the development of local and regional distance learning applications and active participation in the full development and utilization of the infrastructure-technology partnership;
(5) encourage interactions between public and private nonprofit distance learning providers and users.

(B) The commission shall work in concert with department staff to compile a database of information and research regarding distance learning programs and applications. The database shall be made available to the public and to state agencies and local governments.

(C) The commission may communicate distance learning information to the department. The advisory communication shall serve to provide the department with information on methods of providing technical assistance and needs assessment information to entities developing distance learning programs.

Section 6. {Severability clause.}

Section 7. {Repealer clause.}

Section 8. {Effective date.}