Many High Schools Now Offering Online Classes

We all remember it well...having our schedule perfectly planned only to find out from our guidance counselor that British Literature and Biology 101 were only being offered at the same time...what to need Bio to graduate, but your love of Keats is calling to you. In the end you sacrificed Brit Lit and took Bio...bummer.

Kids in some high schools aren't faced with such sacrifices because their schools are part of the Virtual High School, a 14 year old Massachusetts based consortium that offers 336 online courses to 13,000 students in 31 states and 34 countries around the world. The organization began as a two year pilot program with the Department of Education.

About half of Massachusetts' school districts belong to the Virtual High School network. Full members pay $8,000 annually for 25 seats in cyber classrooms and must train one teacher to offer an online course, according to an article in the Boston Globe.

"It is very satisfying to know that school leaders understand the value of online courses and how they can enrich programming for students, " Liz Pape, president and CEO of the the consortium told the Globe.

Courses cover topics ranging from music composition, Caribbean art history, and photography, to Mandarin, engineering, and biology, Pape said. In biology, the dozen or so required lab sessions are completed through simulation.

Pape and others said the Virtual High School concept is a perfect blend of screen and face to face class time that prepares students for college. Similar online efforts are gaining ground elsewhere; New Hampshire's Virtual Learning Academy, for example, has more than 7,000 students, the Globe reported.

The International Association of K-12 Online Learning, says that ten percent of all courses will be computer based by 2014, and in 2019 about fifty percent will be online. Additionally, educational technology consultant Ambient Learning says two million American high school students are already learning online.

I'm glad that future high school students won't be forced to make the gut wrenching decisions that my generation had to make...Algebra II or Art History.

High Schools Elementary Schools

Data on U.S. Public High Schools & Private High Schools

Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. The data displayed is compiled from the most recent sources available. For public schools this is the 2012-2013 school year. For private schools this is the 2011-2012 school year.

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