Harnessing modern technology to tailor education personally and make it efficient is new and greatly unsettled territory.
States, schools, entrepreneurs, and families are testing variations on many programs to see what works for them. Every state offers K-12 students some option for digital learning, but many programs are poorly funded and structured. The result is a wide variation in online learning quality between states and within states.
Technology allows families and students greater freedom to finish school more quickly or more slowly depending on each student’s needs; greater freedom to travel and blend learning styles and opportunities; and relief for teachers and schools from many administrative burdens. All of this, digital learning proponents say, allows the best teachers and instruction to reach more students while reducing education costs.
Understanding that freedom to fail is necessary for innovation, proponents of online education generally advocate policymakers create a level playing field for various learning opportunities and provide an appropriate amount of oversight for public funds to ensure excellent options rise and poor options fall.