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Monday, November 14, 2005

More Ariz. Students 'Attending' Virtual Schools

Another one from NCSW@yahoogroups.com

More Ariz. Students 'Attending' Virtual Schools

Anne Ryman
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 14, 2005


This year, an unprecedented number of Arizona K-12 students will take their classes online through virtual schools.

It's part of a distance-learning tide that has rolled through higher education and corporate America and is spreading more rapidly into highschools and below.

Statewide, one in 10 students, or 10,816, took at least one class through virtual schools last year, with more enrolling this year, state officialssaid. Hundreds attend all of their classes online.

Studies show that virtual schooling can work well, although experts say more research is needed. Arizona's schools generally report good results, especially for students who want flexible schedules.

To illustrate the benefits and drawbacks of virtual schools, The Arizona Republic followed one student who attends full time by computer during atypical day.


Scrutiny increases

The state has placed more restrictions on virtual schools in recent years.

The number of schools allowed in the state is capped at 14.

Afraid that virtual schools could steal many students from traditional ones, lawmakers this year prohibited a virtual school from growing more than 100percent in enrollment each year.

They also required the schools to report more information about academic performance, so parents can gauge whether students are making progress.

The schools must now report to the state their students' scores on standardized tests such as AIMS compared with the state average.

Lawmakers also gave more regulatory power to the two state agencies that oversee virtual schools.

The Arizona State Board of Education and the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools must review each school's effectiveness.

Virtual schools must re-apply every five years to remain open.

(end of snips)

Thoughts anyone...

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