Nationwide declining enrollment has pushed states to consider program offerings and alternatives that might entice students to return. For some states, that might mean entertaining the possibility of options like remote learning. New York City families have been requesting a remote learning option for those still reluctant to return to in-person district schools. NYC is one of the few large urban districts not offering a remote-learning alternative. That is, until last month when the district announced it would be creating two new virtual schools. Capture the highlights below:
- Details are unclear, but enrollment would be limited to incoming ninth graders.
- Remote option may help persuade some of the 120,000 families who have left NYC public schools over the past five years to come back.
- Public high school placements are determined by lottery, which resulted in many families opting for private and charter schools, or leaving the city.
- NYC public schools have lost 120,000 families over the past five years.
- NYC will offer two new virtual schools, in addition to home instruction for medically fragile children.
- Additional details about the virtual schools have not been released.
- Will they offer two sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon to serve more students.
- Will they reduce virtual and in-person classes sizes.
- What will their benchmark for virtual schools’ success be?
- Will they be required to show superior performance in order to be allowed to continue, like charter schools?
- Will NYC add the rest of the high school years? Middle school?
- Will students be able to attend K-12 remotely simiply because they prefer to?
- Could listening to those parents who want a remote option be the magic bullet the department has been looking for?
- Could it outlive the pandemic?
- Could it become just another school choice, the way New Yorkers can already opt their children into unzoned schools, dual language programs, gifted-and-talented programs, etc.?
- Might the rest of the country follow the lead of America’s largest school district?
- By offering remote schooling beyond students who are medically fragile, might NYC lead the way to even more educational choices for all?