News Reports Bash Virtual Schools, Ignore Reality
MacIver Institute – James Widgerson – 9/7/2012
Let's begin by understanding what a virtual school is. It's a school that uses the Internet as a tool and means of communication between teachers and students. Students log on, check for assignments or messages from their teachers, read the course materials, watch lectures from the teachers (live or recorded), do homework assignments, and take tests and quizzes, all online.
Whether the schools use curriculum that are privately developed or directed by a school district, these schools are public charter schools, run by public school districts in
school teachers. Wisconsin
There are many advantages to an online school versus a traditional school. The flexible schedule allows students to work at their own pace to master a subject. If a student has a question, they can just email the teacher or participate in an online discussion. Online lectures can be replayed as often as necessary. Older students can even set their own schedules to accommodate a job and all the kids can factor in family schedules, church, community events and extra-curricular activities.
For some parents, the online school is also a way to remove a child from dealing with bullying or disciplinary situations. In our own case, it's a matter of allowing my son to attend a school without many of the distractions that seem to impede his academic progress while allowing him to work at his own pace.
Unfortunately, judging virtual schools is often more about politics and the teachers unions than it is about allowing an educational option for parents. Because the unions are hostile to any education reform that could possibly involve teaching more students with less unionized teachers, the state teachers union actually sued to have the schools shut down only a few years ago. Thankfully, quick action by the legislature saved virtual schools, but that hasn't prevented the teachers union from producing a report calling for a moratorium on new virtual school enrollment. A report cited by the Gannett article as a response to poor academic performance without acknowledgement that it was a union-funded study I might add.
A virtual school student costs the taxpayers $5,747 per student, according to Gannett, while a traditional student costs taxpayers $13,020.
An official state audit in 2010 showed 94 percent parental satisfaction with
's online charter