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Virtual Summer School Becoming More Common

Marketplace aired an interesting story about online summer school last night. School districts around the country are offering classes via YouTube and other online sites in an effort to cut budgets.

The story mentions how Los Angeles Unified School District’s budget for summer school went from $40 million to $1 million and that districts in Philadelphia and Florida are also making similar cuts to their summer schedule.

There are pros and cons to this latest trend, according to some experts. Kids have to be self-motivated and disciplined to learn virtually since they aren’t physically in a classroom with a teacher.

What are districts in Texas doing? KERA’s Shelley Kolfler reported on this issue a couple of years ago when lawmakers were considering legislation that would expand online education in Texas. Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that allows high school students to take up to three online course a year.

Many districts, like Richardson and Grand Prairie ISDs, are part of the Texas Virtual School Network, which means students can enroll in online classes administered by other districts or entities. Plano ISD is one of the districts that offers online classes through the network.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.