Policy Documents

Virtual Schools

compiled by Michael Van Winkle –
June 28, 2007

New technologies are changing and improving many aspects of our daily lives, from our jobs to our health, our hobbies, and even how we stay in touch with family and friends. The Internet, as they say, “changes everything.”

Some state lawmakers have recognized public schools seem not to have been similarly affected by technological change. They are increasingly out of sync, technologically, and as a result millions of children are missing opportunities for a richer and more relevant educational experience.

Virtual schools, the topic of the enclosed Research & Commentary package, are a step toward bringing schools into the Digital Era. While they will never entirely replace traditional classrooms, virtual schools can be an effective addition to reform packages aimed at providing quality education to children with special needs or in special circumstances.

Inside this R&C, you will learn:

  • Virtual schools are functionally similar to traditional schools, and many incorporate classroom time into their programs;
  • Virtual learning already is prevalent in institutions of higher learning; and
  • Virtual learning is cost effective, often costing as much as 30 percent less than traditional schools.