The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has been pouring resources into online education programs like the Virtual Public School in hopes that the digital curricula and virtual teachers that catered to high-performing students in the past can also become a tool to train teachers and remediate students who struggle at brick-and-mortar schools.
The researchers over at Education Week think the state is doing something right. North Carolina was one of nine states that received an A in a report released today. Technology Counts 2009: Breaking Away from Tradition applauds the state for establishing a virtual school, offering computer-based assessments, including technology in state standards for students, and testing students in technology.
All of that is great, and low-performing students who need to recover credits could definitely benefit, but only if the state supplements the online opportunities with quality face-to-face learning and drastically improves online access for youngsters in poor communities.