Redefining school choice to include having a virtual learning option for parents post COVID


Let’s acknowledge the reality: virtual school is not for everyone. COVID-19 forcing everyone to go virtual immediately was an insane amount of pressure on teachers, students, parents, administrators, and everyone in-between. And even as a year has passed and people have gotten more adjusted to the tech, it’s still not the ideal for all students.

However, some students and families have found that remote learning works really well for their needs. Introverted children don’t have to deal with the daily pressures of a crowded classroom. Easily distracted students can focus in on their schoolwork. Shy students have multiple, and sometimes more anonymous, ways of speaking up to ask questions or voice opinions. And all students can work at the best pace for them, whether that means an accelerated pace or the chance to spend some extra time on something that’s been giving them trouble.

This variety makes virtual learning a great option, even as we return to a world where it’s safer to be in-person. Everyone learns differently, and virtual school can be a helpful tool in accounting for that. The flexibility of remote learning can allow students to spend more time focusing on the educational topics they love most. It can also give them time to concentrate on the places where they are struggling, with less fear of judgement from their peers.

Now that learners and families have been exposed to virtual school, some are going to want to maintain it. For some students, virtual schooling might just be the perfect fit. Parents need to consider the virtual option when making the best choice for their children, and educators need to continue offering and investing in their remote learning options.

If a child is overwhelmed by a busy school and busy classroom, faces bullies or other negative social pressures, excels in certain areas and perhaps falls behind in others, virtual school remains a great educational option. If schools and administrations support and grow their virtual programs and teachers, it makes the best possible educational experience accessible to more students.

Helping students get excited about learning and feel in control of their education is always the goal of school choice, and including a virtual option increases the chance that more kids can feel this way.