Education

How do virtual charter schools work?

Posted August 30

Computer, laptop

— North Carolina debuted two virtual charter schools in August 2015 – N.C. Connections Academy and N.C. Virtual Academy. The schools were launched as part of a four-year pilot program to determine whether virtual charters can succeed in the state.

Amelia Hempel, a student at N.C. Connections Academy Nearly 2,500 students have left NC's online charter schools: Why did they leave? Where did they go?

Virtual charters are public schools and serve students across the state. Parents must apply for enrollment but do not have to pay tuition to attend. They are similar to regular charter schools but virtual charter students stay home and take all their classes online. Parents typically serve as learning coaches and act as a liaison between their children and teachers.

Both virtual charter schools allow teachers to work from home. Some work in the schools' Durham-based offices a few days a week or when they are in training

Supporters say virtual charter schools provide options for non-traditional students, but skeptics say they're a handout of taxpayer money to big corporations that don't always deliver a quality product.

Connections Academy has ties to Pearson, a London-based international education company, and Virtual Academy was launched by K12 Inc., a national company based in Herndon, Va.

Connections Academy and Virtual Academy are not associated with the North Carolina Virtual Public School, which is a supplemental program for middle schools and high schools in the state.

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