Virtual schooling has increased over the past decade and is defined as a public school that offers only instruction in which students and teachers are separated by time or location and where interaction occurs via computers or telecommunications technologies. As stated by National Education Policy Centre, the enrolments in virtual schools has increased by 17,000 students from 2015-2016 to 295,518 students by 2017.
“This isn’t going anywhere,” Dr. Kelly Van Sande, Arizona Virtual Academy head of schools, said. “As the school choice movement really takes over our nation and giving parents a voice to say, ‘I know what’s best for my child—I know what’s best for my child to attend a traditional brick-and-mortar school, or to attend a charter school, or an online public charter school, or even to home school.’
Giving that choice to the parents and making sure that we listen to the parents’ voice, as they are the ones that know best for their own child.” Dr. Van added, “We always are advancing our platforms and the technology that we utilize to ensure that it’s keeping up with the changing trends, not only with education but also with technology, as well.”
They’ve rolled out a new piece of technology by developing a new app where parents can find virtual schools available in their area. As of 2017, 34 states had full-time virtual schools while 29 states had blended schools that combine online and classroom teaching. According to a survey by US Department of Education, there is a significant rise from the 1.1 million children who were home schooled in 2002 to 1.8 million children who were homes chooled in 2012.
The traditional public school setting is witnessing online schooling with more school districts offering online modules for its students. Instruction superintendent of Arizona Public, Diane Douglas says the school choice depends on each child individually and that what may work best for one student may not work for another. “I support whatever choice a parent or parents make,” Douglas said. “I say all the time, 'God gives children to parents, not to government bureaucracies.' So, it’s up to them to make the best decisions.”