Remote schooling programs have been around for a long time, but they’ve been deemed mostly impractical because of the associated costs. The idea of having a student studying from home has been a dream for some teachers and schools for a long time, yet a remote education program has a difficult time reaching a profit.
For students who live too far away from their local schools, virtual education can open up an enormous number of possibilities for them, including the opportunity to earn the same degree while living in a different part of the world. remote education can also provide an effective alternative for students who need or want to take remote courses to pursue their career, whether that’s because of their job or family. These virtual courses can be extremely convenient, especially for students who need to travel for various reasons, while they can be adapted to suit the student’s needs.
For the most part, the answer to the question is very simple: yes. Schools can provide more online courses, they can offer more online classes and they should. The reasons why are varied but the summary is simple: online education and distance learning is already available and it’s growing. There is a growing demand for distance learning and the tools, technology and the experience to make this happen.
Parents are split as schools throughout the nation return to in-person instruction. We believed the epidemic was finished, but it isn’t, thanks to the spread of the Delta form of COVID-19. We thought school closures were over and we’d be back to regular classes, but now some parents are opting to leave their children at home for a variety of reasons, including increasing illness rates, politics of face masks, and vaccination requirements.
In many instances, state and school officials are reacting to this range of degrees of comfort. From July 29 to August 12, the number of districts providing students a virtual option to in-person learning almost quadrupled, from 41 to 79 percent, according to CRPE, The Center for Reinventing Education.
Why are some parents opting for online learning over in-person instruction?
The rise in COVID transmission rates has added to the concern surrounding student and staff safety in traditional classrooms. If testing and distance standards cannot be fulfilled, one Illinois mom is contemplating withdrawing her kindergartener until they are eligible for immunization.
Just sent a painful email asking our middle school principal about testing & more distancing in the cafeteria. We may take our Kindergartner out until he can be vaccinated. @GovPritzker & @ISBEnews my family needs a remote learning option. @ILRaiseYourHand
August 18, 2023 — Liz Moran Stelk (@lizziestelk)
Then there’s the recent Hart Research Associates survey for education and civil-rights organizations, which showed that more than a quarter of parents are still hesitant to bring their children to school in person unless robust safety procedures for kids and staff are in place.
With an increasing number of parents seeking remote alternatives, COVID isn’t the only game in town.
Parent advocates in Oakland, California, informed the school board that remote learning provides “quality learning opportunities for all students.” And the newly established organization “Parents For Virtual Choice” in New Jersey is expanding by the day.
Remote teaching was a godsend for certain pupils with impairments, particularly those on the autistic spectrum. “When the epidemic first struck, online school was a little chaotic for everyone,” said one mother of a 13-year-old. My oldest daughter, on the other hand, handled it well. She began to interact more with instructors and felt more at ease than she had while she was in school. Her academic performance was outstanding.”
“We heard from parents who were upset with the bad narrative surrounding online learning because that hadn’t been their experience,” a principal of a virtual school in Colorado Springs told CNN. Those broad generalizations ignore what has worked for a large number of families — and that group is significant.”
In addition, a growing number of parents are opting to homeschool their children instead of sending them to public schools.
Then there are the parents that encourage their children to study in person.
According to several surveys, millions of parents want in-person schooling to return, mostly to fight learning loss and social isolation. According to a recent poll in Massachusetts on how federal recovery funds should be used, 70% of parents wanted their kid to study in person this autumn.
According to a Gallup survey released in March, the “great majority” of parents want their children back in school, although there are substantial political disparities. For example, although 79 percent of parents said they support “providing in-person schooling” in their communities, Republicans supported it at much greater rates—94 percent—than Independents (80 percent) and Democrats (62 percent ).
The expense of daycare, as well as its unavailability, is another significant issue for working parents. Susannah Lago, a mother, business owner, and founder of the organization Working Moms of Milwaukee, stated, “I don’t know anybody who isn’t suffering.”
Are some parents more receptive to online learning than others?
Yes. According to different polls conducted throughout the nation, significantly more Black and Hispanic parents prefer virtual teaching and are less comfortable with in-school learning. According to a survey conducted last summer, almost 70% of Black families with school-aged children favor or strongly support retaining all teaching online, whereas just 32% of white parents agreed.
In comparison to white and Asian parents, approximately 20% of Black and Hispanic parents were most reluctant to send their children back for in-person education in autumn 2023, according to a recent nationwide study conducted by Rand.
COVID-19 has been tougher on communities of color owing to other socioeconomic determinants of health such as food poverty, affordable housing, and access to health care, according to analysts. Furthermore, Black Americans have a greater incidence of pre-existing illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which may make them more vulnerable to the virus.
What are the responses of major school districts and states to parent concerns?
States are dispersed across the country. Thirty-eight of them have authorized permanent virtual learning institutions, including the District of Columbia: After a study showed that 8,000 families desire a remote alternative, Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite expanded the district virtual school, Philadelphia Virtual Academy; and Indianapolis is giving parents the choice of two virtual charter schools.
Except that leaves 13 states where parents have little choice but to ignore their own risk calculus, join a “micropod,” or learn how to homeschool their children.
Refer to CRPE’s database on policies for masks, vaccinations, complete in-person teaching, virtual learning alternatives, and learning plan continuity in various states and major school districts to keep track of the developments.
What’s the bottom line?
For a variety of reasons, parents prefer in-person learning over remote teaching, but districts must be able to fulfill a family’s requirements wherever they sit on the spectrum—and right now, every district is failing to do so, leaving some families out in the cold.
Unsplash photo by Bruce Mars.
When I asked a local elementary school principal what options they have for online learning, his reply was surprising: “As a public school, we can’t offer a home schooling program.” The reason? They’re funding schools with taxpayer dollars, and a home schooling program would be a private one. Fortunately, public schools like his can offer virtual classes.. Read more about will virtual learning continue in 2023-2022 and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is remote learning optional?
Remote learning is not optional.
Why should students continue remote learning?
Students who are remote learning have more freedom to learn at their own pace and in their own environment. They also have the ability to work on assignments anywhere they want, which can be very convenient for students who live far away from the school.
Should online school be an option?
I am not qualified to answer this question.
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