Pretty good free online K-12 learning options exist in most states, so why aren’t more students learning online? There are more than 2 million students learning online and that’s growing by more than 30% annually, but there are five significant barriers to more rapid adoption:
- Babysitting: Don’t underestimate the custodial aspect of school–it’s nice to have a place to send the kids every day. Homeschooling continues to grow aided by online learning but will never exceed 10% because most folks don’t want their kids around all day every day or just can’t afford to stay home.
- Money & Jobs: At the request of employee groups, the Louisiana state board recently rejected three high quality virtual charter applications. Districts don’t want to lose enrollment revenue and unions don’t want to lose jobs.
- Tradition: Layers of policies stand in the way of learning online starting with seat time requirements–butts in seats for 180 hours with a locally certificated teacher plowing through an adopted textbook.
There are likely many opportunities to offer online learning options for our students, particularly in tight budget times.