The reality behind virtual schools

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The reality behind virtual schools

  1. 1. The Reality Behind Virtual Schools<br />By Brandy Shelton<br />October 21, 2010<br />
  2. 2. What are virtual schools?<br />Virtual schools are entities approved by the state or governing body that offers courses through distance delivery (most commonly the Internet).<br />
  3. 3. How did virtual schools develop?<br />Descendants of correspondence schools.<br />Sometimes referred to as “distance learning.”<br />First became used during the mid-1990’s in K-12.<br />Now many school districts across the U.S. employ virtual schools as an alternative method of learning.<br />
  4. 4. How do virtual schools work?<br />Some students go to computer labs to do their work online.<br />Some are completely homeschooled.<br />Or they can take any combination of public / private / homeschooling and online classes.<br />
  5. 5. What kinds of students thrive in virtual schools?<br />Students must be independent learners, highly motivated, and have strong time management, literacy, and technology skills.<br />Virtual learning had targeted adults because of these qualities.<br />Adults learn differently than young learners.<br />Is this the best choice for K-12?<br />
  6. 6. How do public schools fit into the equation?<br />Public e-schools, or virtual charter schools, are public schools that direct students’ schooling in their homes via the internet at taxpayer’s expense.<br />Depending on the school district, virtual schools can get around $400 more per student in state and federal money than the school district would have gotten.<br />
  7. 7. What’s California’s stance?<br />School districts are looking at options of adopting more methods of learning.<br />Elk Grove and San Mateo school districts are among those.<br />The program K12 is the front runner in providing the virtual school experience for those school districts.<br />
  8. 8. What is K12?<br />Also known as CAVA (California Virtual Academy) in CA.<br />A private for-profit company that provides the curriculum, support, and equipment for students who enroll via their school districts.<br />
  9. 9. Why some think K12 works:<br />It offers students and their parents an alternative education.<br />Students can pace themselves.<br />It isn’t homeschool because the curriculum is being provided by K12, not the parents.<br />
  10. 10. Why some think K12 doesn’t work:<br />K12 is in it to make a profit and are looking for business, not a strong education.<br />Face-to-face time is limited, but students can e-mail and find help on the web.<br />There is no way to make sure the students are the ones doing the work. It’s based on the honor system.<br />The curriculum is not seen as comparable to that being offered in most classrooms.<br />
  11. 11. Where do we go from here?<br />More research is needed to see if e-schools, or virtual charter schools, are a good idea for K-12 students. Are they developmentally ready?<br />The money that is leaving our public schools is going to private companies. Do they have the best interest of our students at heart?<br />Who is monitoring our e-school students?<br />

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