While Arizona is a beautiful state known for its warm weather, beautiful landscape, and welcoming people, not all of its residents have access to the same education and resources.
Many students in Arizona are underserved due to various factors, and new surveys have shown that around 13% of Arizonans between 16 to 24(roughly 117,000 people) are currently not in school or working.
Thrive Point High School, a virtual charter school in Arizona, explains the disparity this way, “A traditional high school or education model isn’t a good fit for every student. While some students work at an accelerated pace, others need to spend more time on a subject to retain the information. We know that students in the 21st century need flexibility to complete course work and resources to support them on their schedule.”
Fortunately, virtual learning continues to offer some potential solutions to these disparities.
Virtual learning can provide flexibility and convenience to students who may not be able to attend regular classes due to other commitments. This can include anything from holding a job to taking care of family members, or simply having transportation issues.
In addition, families with children who require extra help or need to be monitored more closely due to a disability, virtual learning can allow them the flexibility and support they need.
Lower Financial Barrier
Virtual learning also eliminates the financial burden of attending regular classes. Many underserved students in Arizona may not have access to the same resources other students take for granted such as textbooks, transportation, and even the cost of tuition. With virtual learning, these students can access quality education resources without having to worry about the financial burden associated with regular schooling.
While there is still evidence that shows lack of access to digital technology might pose a threat to virtual learning, Arizona has made strides by providing additional support to public schools.
Not only does virtual learning provide immediate assistance to underserved students, it also provides long-term benefits that can help these students succeed in their future endeavors. With virtual learning, these students are more likely to stay on track and graduate on time, thus opening up more opportunities for future success.
More and more colleges and universities are offering virtual learning options, giving underserved students access to higher education without having to worry about the costs associated with traditional schooling.
For some students with disabilities, traditional schooling is not an option. Virtual learning has proven to give more accessibility to these students and can provide additional support and resources they may not have access to in a physical classroom setting.
Katie Small, who holds a Masters in Education and works as the Director of K-8 Remote Program at Calibre Academy sums it up by saying, “ Distance learning benefits students by providing the rigor of curriculum, support of teachers, and peer interaction all online. It allows for customized learning, providing a safe school setting where students can thrive academically and invest in their health, personal goals, and family life.”