Virtual schools, like the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program, give families for educational choices. I think that’s a good thing. But should online classes be mandatory? This article in School Reform News discusses Alabama’s new requirement that every student take an online course in order to graduate.
The reasoning behind this isn’t clear. The people quoted in the article talk about equalizing education across the state and giving everyone opportunities to take specialized courses. Those are great reasons to offer online courses — but not to force anyone to participate who doesn’t want to.
It seems like some reformers see promising new opportunities and reflexively conclude that everyone has to take advantage of them, or else. It’s this pattern that led to my concern about imitating Asia, which I briefly mentioned in this post. I’m happy about virtual schools, bilingual programs, and other reforms and innovations. Let’s keep them voluntary, and let people choose them if they wish.