February 23rd, 2012

WATCH: Cyber Schools: Virtual Innovation?

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.

Download transcript (PDF)

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.


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5 comments

Hello! If the tradional schools did a better job with the kids they would not be in cyber school in the first place. They have driven kids away and now whine about it.

Interesting take, Lyndsay. Why do you think that?

i go to a cyber school and i would like to say that you have to look at what the student is getting into when in a public school. you have drugs, bullies, and a lot more so don’t bag on one thing without looking into it fully

Lucas — check out this video we posted on that topic:
http://youtu.be/KcwPNTHcOtM

I’m thinking of cyber school to get away from bullying. This past year for my kids has been a nightmare and the school did nothing. Public schools need to get a handling on the behavioral/social aspect they think home school kids are missing out of if they want to “win them back”




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