Virtual Schools Showing Real Growth

PALM COAST – Parents are becoming fed up with public schools. More and more students are receiving poor instruction and other children are disrupting the learning environment. Close to 100,000 students were enrolled statewide during the 2009-2010 school year, according to the most recent data available. That reflects a 38 percent increase over the previous year. About 3,500 students in Volusia and Flagler counties were enrolled during the 2009-2010 school year.

The state’s virtual courses serve K-12 students with a variety of needs, including home-schooled students, those with chronic or long-term illnesses, high-level athletes and students who failed a course in the traditional setting and want to try again.

The program also allows students to take courses that are not being offered at their school. That number includes part-time and full-time students, many of whom take some combination of online and traditional courses. One of Central Florida’s online schools currently has 904 enrollments this school year, up from 245 the previous year.

Virtual schooling has worked well for many students, who struggled in school before and switched to online courses. “I don’t have the drugs to worry about; I don’t have the bullying to worry about,” said Mrs. Medley. State education officials expect online enrollment to continue to climb.

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