The Trump administration is expected to sign a bill Monday that would make it easier for parents to enroll their children in online kindergarten programs, a move that critics say will undermine the quality of online learning for children.
The Education Department said in a statement that it would be issuing a final rule that will require states to offer online classes for children under 5 years old, the first step toward creating a national curriculum for online learning.
The proposal is an effort by the Education Department to help boost access to online learning programs for children in states where parents can’t get online access.
It was first proposed in March, but was stalled by lawmakers who objected to the cost and safety of the initiative.
The department said Monday that the rule will make it “much easier for children to access online education for kindergarten through 12th grade” and help parents “make better decisions about where their children should go to school.”
The legislation would allow parents to register their children’s online classes in the state, as long as the parents sign a waiver before enrolling their children.
Under the proposed rule, states would be allowed to require parental notification before allowing a child to enroll in a online class.
In addition, states could use state funds to help pay for the cost of the online classes.
In the coming months, the Trump administration will also announce a package of tax relief for parents who enroll their young children in state-funded online programs, which could help ease the financial burden on many families who have struggled to get online classes, especially those who don’t have the means to afford it.
The president has long called for the creation of a national online curriculum, and he has sought to ease financial burdens on parents who do not have the time or resources to take their children to school online.
In January, he signed an executive order that would allow families to use federal tax credits to help offset the cost to parents of participating in a state online program.
Trump has proposed several proposals to increase online learning, including an effort to make it more affordable for parents of preschool children to enroll.
He has also called for a national program to provide teachers with more online instruction.