In a study by RAND Corporation, “Distance learning is here to stay,” 58 out of 288 school district administrators – about 20% – said their school systems had begun to build. Online schools, are planning to start a school or are considering making such a post-pandemic offer.
“This is not a panacea or a silver bullet for public school education,” said Heather Schwartz, a senior policy researcher at RAND who led the study. However, she added, “There are a small number of parents, a small number of students and even a handful of teachers where virtual learning is the preferred method.“
However, the rise of online schools comes with risks. It can normalize distance learning methods that have poor results for many students, the education researchers say. It could also further divide a fragile national education system, especially as many Asian, Black and Latino families have been wary of returning their children to school this year. .
“My fear is that it will lead to further fragmentation and fragmentation,” said Jack Schneider, associate professor of education at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
School districts say they simply respond to the needs of parents and children wanting to engage in distance learning – some because of student health problems, some because of concerns about bullying or discrimination. treat them in their own schools, and some just like the convenience of studying at home. .
School districts that do not establish online schools could lose students – along with government educational funding – into virtual academies run by neighboring counties, companies or nonprofits, said the administrator. To pay for new online services, some counties say they are using federal coronavirus relief or transfer sources from other programs.
Online schools began to open in the 1990s, some run by states or counties, and others by private companies or nonprofit chartered management organizations. But until recently, they played a relevant role in many states.