States and districts are launching online public schools, reports the Wall Street Journal in My Teacher Is an App.
In just the past few months, Virginia has authorized 13 new online schools. Florida began requiring all public-high-school students to take at least one class online, partly to prepare them for college cybercourses. Idaho soon will require two. In Georgia, a new app lets high-school students take full course loads on their iPhones and BlackBerrys. Thirty states now let students take all of their courses online.
Nationwide, an estimated 250,000 students are enrolled in full-time virtual schools, up 40 percent in the last three years, and more than two million take at least one class online.
Achievement appears to be lower for virtual students, though it’s possible apples are being compared to oranges.
Districts hope to save money by outsourcing classes to online providers, reports the Journal.
In Georgia, state and local taxpayers spend $7,650 a year to educate the average student in a traditional public school. They spend nearly 60% less—$3,200 a year—to educate a student in the statewide online Georgia Cyber Academy, saving state and local tax dollars. Florida saves $1,500 a year on every student enrolled online full time.
If your teacher is an app, you’d better have an educated, at-home parent, who can answer questions immediately. Not every student has that.