More than 200,000 K-12 students are educated online in the United States today. Proponents of the system argue that it works for families — by providing flexible schedules, among other benefits — while also creating a student engagement that isn’t replicable in “the brick and mortar system.”
Detractors worry about how students are kept on-task. Are they really doing the work? How is that being enforced? Additionally, is removing students from the social atmosphere of K-12 education beneficial for their development?
And then, of course, there is the financial side of the issue. Every student who enrolls in a cyber school represents a financial hit to public education in that area, as you will learn in this piece. Some cyber school administrators are earning millions of dollars per year, but it’s not always clear where the extra money is going — is it going back into the school and the students (such as upgrading the technology), the broader community, or somewhere else?
John Tulenko traveled to Midland, PA — home of the PA Cyber Charter — to find out what’s going on in the world of K-12 online learning.
This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
You know the pros and cons of going to school online, so which side do you come down on? Read and comment!
Meet Courtney Dunn and Nate Kusich. Dunn is a current cyber school student, and Kusich is a former one — now back in ‘traditional’ schooling. Their experiences are vastly different, and will paint a picture of the pros and cons of the model. Watch and comment!
You are probably familiar with the traditional model of being a teacher — standing in front of students and imparting knowledge. But what happens when your pupils are online, and you can’t (for legal reasons) actually see what they’re doing? How do you create engagement and interaction, and foster discipline? Watch and comment!
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