As full-time virtual learning moved from the fringe to the mainstream in mid-March 2020, onlookers expressed concerns about access for learners and accountability for the learning itself. Some policymakers have even gone so far this year as to ban the remote option.
Concerns about different forms of schooling aren’t new. The skepticism has long extended to alternative schools of a variety of forms, but chiefly those that serve students who have dropped out or transferred from traditional schools and often serve as schools of last resort. This set of schools is often viewed as low quality, plagued by educational malpractice, and having low graduation rates.
At the same time, however, these schools have a critical role to play by catering to students who aren’t served well by traditional schools. This past year especially, these schools served as a haven for subsets of students.