Posted by: goalpath | April 19, 2009

Are Virtual Schools the Future of Public Education?

120,000 students across America are being taught every day completely on the internet according to the North American Council for Online learning. Each student interacts with their teacher via computer in their own home. The teachers teach from their home as well. Supporters of this method believe that the convenience and cost reduction make this method a sound alternative, but a number of educators question the validity of this type of education. 

Currently 22 states subsidize online learning with tax dollars the same way they would support public schools in the community. The online classes do sponsor field trips so that the students can spend time with other students in their classes in a more social environment. The question is: Will this type of learning be as effective as true classroom learning and will the students learn the needed socialization skills required to become successful when they reach adulthood? 

I can understand using this process if the students are homebound or located in a remote section of the country, but as a wholesale replacement for regular schools, I think it is a bad idea. Part of growing up involves learning socialization skills. How can you do this from home? You can’t. If we expect them to join the workforce and become productive citizens, these kids need to learn how to deal with authority figures in person not via the internet.


As it is, our youth already spends too much time texting, instant messaging and surfing the web. If their school is online, then they will spend the majority of every day sitting at their computers and texting on their cell phones or PDA’s. Learning people skills will be difficult at best.  Not to mention the obesity issue. It is already a serious problem in America. Online schooling will certainly contribute to that trend as well.


Yes, our education system is flawed, but moving it online will not fix the problem. It’s not too late to fix our public education system. We need to provide our teachers with ongoing education programs that keep up with technology and all it brings. We need to compensate them based on the importance of educating our youth. And last, but not least, we need to modernize of the public school facilities. This is key if we expect our kids to become successful and productive members of society. I don’t see online education as a solution. Yes it can be a part of the solution in certain areas, but it is no wholesale cure for the inadequacy of the current system.


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