Statewide Virtual Options

There are a lot of worthy ways to use ARP dollars – and enough dollars that it’s  possible to achieve more than a single goal. BW will have more work on that soon.

Here’s one obvious idea that doesn’t seem to be getting enough attention – quality statewide virtual options for this fall. Last year the overreaction was the assumption that everyone was in remote school when, actually, a lot of districts opened in August or September. Conversely, this year the assumption seems to be that everyone will be in live school come the fall. This seems off given parents who for whatever reason are not comfortable returning live as well as Delta and other possible variants causing some disruption.

There is general agreement that hybrid (in its current iterations) is suboptimal and concurrent often disastrous. And asking districts to do virtual district by district seems less than ideal, too, for a bunch of reasons. And it doesn’t seem unreasonable to tell parents that yes a virtual option should and will be available but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be at your home school (and there are other virtual options to choose from). During the pandemic some states offered statewide virtual as an option.

That’s why coercing parents back into school by saying no virtual option seems as problematic as trying to provide for choice at every school site. More governors stepping up and saying there will be a virtual option, it will be quality, and universally available seems like a way through (and one with some political upside outside of special interest group pressure). It’s hard to go wrong politically with parents when you say you’ll make sure every kid has a good option for school. Pushing for that seems like a good goal for advocates, too. And right now no one can say they don’t have the money…