Should Florida lead the nation in online education?
It's no secret that Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford likes the idea of online education.
He's pushed for a fully virtual university, and has often suggested that the state's graduation requirement of one Internet-based course might expand to two or even three.
At a leadership forum this week, the Florida Current reports that Weatherford said Florida should be the national leader in the field. It's what students want, he suggested.
“They call it disruptive innovation because it literally disrupts the status quo,” Weatherford said. “We’ve got to find a way to protect the traditional model but also embrace the future of what education is going to be and what the students are demanding -- the students are the ones demanding online learning."
The demand seems to be somewhat finite, as districts' funding battle with Florida Virtual School has demonstrated. Local e-schools have seen their enrollments rise, primarily to meet the graduation requirement, but FLVS has shrunk dramatically. Lawmakers have paved the way for out-of-state private online schools to gain charters in Florida, and it remains to be seen how they will impact the numbers.
Does Florida need to delve further into this area to establish itself as the online leader? Is virtual schooling the wave of the future?