On virtual education, some districts are learning to adapt

Four school districts on Florida’s east coast are joining with Indian River State College and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the world’s largest publisher of educational materials, to form a regional virtual school to compete with the Florida Virtual School (FLVS).  Florida recently passed a law requiring every student to pass an online course to graduate and Florida districts are worried they’ll lose revenue if students meet this requirement by taking FLVS courses.  We want “to keep the resources within the region,” said St. Lucie Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon.

After years of trying to protect their market share by denying parents choices, Florida school districts are increasingly acknowledging that parental choice is the new normal and they’ll need to improve their programs if they’re going to keep parents in district schools.  Hopefully this greater emphasis on customer satisfaction will benefit students, educators, taxpayers and parents.

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BY Doug Tuthill

A lifelong educator and former teacher union president, Tuthill has been president of Step Up For Students since August 2008.