Yet, Tucker points out that a bill in the Florida legislature would block students students from taking additional credits (beyond the annual norm) through the state-operated Florida Virtual School:
Want to extend the school day virtually? Nope. Fail algebra I your freshman year and want to take an extra course online to catch up to the college track? No dice. Want to graduate early (and save the state money)? Not gonna happen.Tucker adds that the bill would also restrict the courses that the Virtual School could teach to those in the core curriculum:
Excited about school and want to take a high school course while in middle school? Way too ambitious. Stuck because you need to pass a course and there is no summer school option? Sit in the same class again next year.
Forget...students options to take AP Art History, Computer Science, or any number of other courses. Elective options are limited to what your bricks and mortar school can offer.Today (Apr. 1), an anonymous commenter on Tucker's post says that a "huge chunk" of the Florida Virtual School's current courses are outside the core curriculum and points to what Florida Tax Watch said about the Virtual School in its 2007 evaluation. The commenter summarizes the tax group's evaluation as follows:
[The Virtual School] saves $1000 per student vs. traditional schools, [has] higher AP scores, higher test scores in math and reading -- the list goes on and on.Virtual schooling is an innovation with tremendous transformative potential. (See the forthcoming book Liberating Learning by Terry Moe and John Chubb.) But realizing that potential in public schools may be delayed by this sort of hobbling.
UPDATE (4/3/09) The Apr. 2 Tampa Tribune had a detailed article on this story.