It’s not only the cheating: how do you know the student is actually doing the lessons and taking the assessments? FLVS (Florida Virtual School, enshrined by law as a public school district like the 67 real districts run by locally elected school boards, whose ‘board’ is now the state’s school board) tries to head this off by having the virtual teachers call students and orally examine them to make sure they are really doing the work and passing the tests.
It’s not that research has shown that virtual learning is not as effective as learning that takes place in a real classroom (Grumpy Old Teacher–GOT–will look for links later; this is a quick dash-off piece.)
It’s not that a virtual school system, conducted online via the internet, doesn’t have the capacity to handle an entire state’s school population. Florida’s State Board of Education, which is also the local school board for the Florida Virtual School, has granted a request for funding so that FLVS can hurriedly build in additional capacity so that it can accommodate 2,700,000 students by early May. A number that not-so-coincidentally matches the entire school population for the state of Florida.
The lie of Florida Virtual School is that it can replace the brick-and-mortar schools that exist in the state.
You need look no further than the annual state tests that Florida vainly believes are the best measure of student learning when it assigns school grades, a system Florida conceitedly believes leads the nation in educational best practices.
(Well, GOT says Florida, but really is referring to the politicians, ed reformers, et al. who almost always are found to have a connection to a profit-making scheme, a charter school chain, a pass-through non-profit like Step Up for Students, or billionaire-sponsored foundations that promote the privatization of education.)
When May arrives, how do those Florida Virtual School students take their tests? Each and every one of them must go to a brick-and-mortar, real district school to sit in a classroom for the administration.
It doesn’t happen online; it doesn’t happen virtually.
Virtual school remains dependent on real public schools to carry out its mission.
GOT wondered if FLVS received school grades like real schools. Here’s the result. Draw your own conclusions.