I’ve written plenty about the good, bad and ugly of virtual education. I’m glad that some folk appear to be catching on to the fact that it’s not the grand education solution, as demonstrated to some extent in this Ocala Star-Banner article: Virtual schools help some students get ahead.
But while parents’ and students’ demands for virtual school instruction are exploding, some educators are concerned that there are not enough data to determine whether the quality of virtual schools is as good as traditional brick-and-mortar schools.
A report published in January by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado found that in 2010-2011 only 27 percent of the nation’s 93 privately managed virtual schools achieved “adequate yearly progress” as defined by the federal government under the No Child Left Behind Act.
And a U.S. Department of Education study says data on virtual schools is limited and inconclusive.
The article does touch a little bit on how some students suffer from not having direct in-person contact with teachers, but one essential element wasn’t mentioned at all: how is science education done in a virtual environment? That’s an important subject that absolutely needs to be part of any virtual education discussion! How do you properly conduct hands-on labs and know you are doing them right without direct teacher supervision? Can you get credit for a chemistry course without actually handling any chemicals?