As mentioned above, decades of research demonstrates that the single most important factor in a child’s academic success is the degree of the active parental involvement in that child’s education. There is some logic to the assumption that all instruction that occurs in the home must, of necessity, involve a high degree of parental involvement. But it turns out that mere proximity is not the same as active involvement.
Parents of students enrolled in the virtual charter school programs have reported that their role in the education of their child is reduced from being the primary teacher to the equivalent of class monitor. These programs require detailed documentation regarding the time spent by the child on each subject. Instead of leading the child in the discovery of great truths about which the child has an interest, the parent is often the unpaid assistant whose primary responsibility is the maintenance of time-keeping charts. And due to the nature of the course work, the higher the grade level of the student, the greater the percentage of the course work that is done on-line and the lower the actual involvement of the parent in the instruction.
A number of parents who have recently enrolled their students in virtual charter schools have done so in order to have the “discipline” and “accountability” of a certified teacher monitoring their child’s work. Ironically, the attention that is actually available from certified personnel is minimal since virtual charter school teachers are often assigned to monitor the school work of hundreds of students. To make matters worse, it is now being reported that some of the reviewing and grading of students’ assignments has been outsourced to India.
And, of course, the fact that students in private home schooling do so much better academically than students in the virtual charter schools should bring into sharp focus the truth that the discipline and accountability available through the virtual charter school personnel is illusory at best.
The truth is that the virtual charter schools have become something of a revolving door with more and more parents opting to un-enroll their students after a few years of tedious record keeping. Once released from those shackles, those parents are then free to embrace the liberty available to private home schoolers. In doing so, they can then provide the optimal one-on-one tutoring of their children that produces the remarkable academic achievement that is characteristic of students in that sphere.