Education Week reported this Monday that Tennessee and a handful of other states now require all students take at least one class online in forward-thinking policies to ready kids for the future.

Officials in Tennessee, Michigan, Idaho and Florida recognize the growing importance of online learning in the future of education. Today, 30 percent of students in college take at least one online course. Meaning, high-schoolers today need to be prepared for future learning environments.

“The reality is, when a student leaves us, whether they’re going to a four-year college, a technical college, or going into the world of work, they’re going to have to do an online course,” says Kathleen Airhart, director of Putnam County Schools in Cookeville, Tenn. “This helps prepare the students.”

These states are working to provide online learning exposure in a safe, low-risk way. In order to do so, states are taking advantage of the new Comcast Internet Essentials program and low-cost equipment solutions such as netbooks and more.

As online learning is growing in demand and requirements across states, it’s important that states continue to look at ways that they can adapt to the needs of each student. Organizations like the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) are working to level challenges around equal access to resources in order to make online learning possible for every student.

Read the full article “States, Districts Move to Require Virtual Classes” by Michelle R. Davis on Education Week. For more on the topic of K-12 online learning mandates, view Tom Vander Ark’s article “Why States Should Require Online Courses.”

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