A new University of Florida study of the nations’ 20 top virtual K-12 schools shows 2 million students enrolled in 2007, up from just 200,000 students in 2001. Researchers surveyed the 20 schools located in 14 states and discovered that it costs $4,300 to educate one student. This is well below the national per student cost of $9,100. Online education has little or no transportation and facilities cost.
The research suggests that investing in virtual education essentially lengthens the school day without requiring money for new buildings, additional staff, professional development and operating costs. Why? Because students have access to classes before and after the regular school day as well as during the day.
Two states, Georgia and Wisconsin, have gone so far as to add online teaching requirements to their teacher certifications.
“Virtual schooling and online learning fit in extremely well with the emerging trend to embrace the same technologies that our young people are using in their everyday lives,” said Dr. Catherine Cavanaugh, professor at the University of Florida’s College of Education. “Schools that don’t embrace online learning soon will be viewed as limiting the learning opportunities of their students.”