Virtual School Receiving More Restrictions In Response To Academic Failures

District leaders have found major issues with Detroit virtual schools. leading them to restrict enrollment criteria next year.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Detroit virtual schools

There is a plethora of varying opinions on virtual schools and their effectiveness However, more and more studies are now being published, portraying an underlying factor in massive learning loss felt in public education since the onset of the pandemic. The key factor leading to these findings seems to be remote learning. Further portraying that these options may not be best for students, Detroit virtual schools will see more restrictions next year in response to academic failures

According to Chalkbeat, the school district will constrain standards for enrollment into Detroit virtual schools. This is in direct response to the soaring rates of chronic absenteeism and failing students within the major city public school system. Additionally, new standards will put in place midyear check-ins for all students, along with re-evaluating current teachers running the virtual classrooms. 

Virtual schools were popping up across the nation even before the pandemic hit. However, they grew in popularity with families unsure of whether or not it was safe to send their kids back to in-person learning. The Detroit virtual school program has been in full operation for one school year. Around 2,100 students ranging from all grades were enrolled this year. Nikolai Vitti, Detroit’s superintendent, has remained dedicated to keeping the alternative going, but he has noted many issues with the school in meeting the educational needs of students. 

Just like in regular classrooms, teacher turnover has been a major issue facing Detroit virtual schools. Because of this, many online classes have become crammed with too many students. This also has proven to be detrimental for students with special needs.

On top of all that, absenteeism has become a major issue in Detroit virtual schools. A whopping 77% of all students enrolled were chronically absent this past school year, meaning they missed at least 10% of all instructional days. Chronic absenteeism is also a major issue in the city’s in-person schools, but not at this high level.

Even more troubling, the majority of all students in Detroit virtual schools reportedly failed at least one core class across all grade levels. Because of this, school officials have decided to change the requirements for families to be eligible for online school next year. Students who failed at least one of these core classes will be required to go to school in person next year.

Detroit virtual schools

Many parents spoke out against the atrocities found this year in Detroit virtual schools. Many of them have announced they will be more than happy to send their children back to in-person learning after what they witnessed. They mentioned things like loud, disruptive classrooms, confusion over teacher turnover continuously happening, and overall low morale because they witnessed their children going to school and not being taught.

 Altogether, these findings are concerning to many education officials across the nation who have already created, or have plans to implement online programs mirroring Detroit’s virtual school. One Chalkbeat review found that almost every single major city across America plans to have fully remote school options this coming fall. Given the overall failing state of public education in America, this is alarming to many parents and education experts.