School 2.0: Kids Go Online to Learn

There are now 22 states that allow parents to send their children to these schools, using tax dollars, as if they were attending school just around the corner. The money also helps pay for field trips, where students learn to interact with kids their own age.

Recently, one of those trips was to the Atlanta aquarium, where nearly 200 Internet students and their families attended. The parents told ABC News that the virtual academy is easy on their pocketbooks, and a great deal.

"I expected that I was going to have to pay almost as much or as much as any of the private schools around here," said Susan Kuse, "and when I found out this was free, I just I couldn't stop smiling for weeks."

Kuse's daughter, Gabrielle, is an amateur figure skater, and in the sixth grade.

"I do my school work, and then around 12:00 I have lunch, I get ready for skating," Gabrielle Kuse said. "I will skate for maybe one or two sessions, which is about 45 minutes each, and then I just go home. And if I haven't finished my school work yet, I can finish some more."

The Georgia Virtual Academy currently receives only state funds, and is counting on the state to allow its students to receive local tax dollars as well. That could happen next year, when a state charter school commission is expected to change the rules.

Test Scores Worry Some Educators

But virtual schools are not for everyone. There is one significant requirement: Each student is required to have a full-time learning coach -- usually, a parent.

Lisa LaCava, who has two children in the program, said, "I would not advise a parent who thinks it's going to require less involvement to take this approach."

"You are not going to park your child in front of a computer and abandon them for the day," she said. "You still have a responsibility as the learning coach, although you're not their teacher. You don't just leave them there. You have to be aware, just like you do in a brick-and-mortar school, as to what's going on."

And in Georgia, they're also worried that the online students are having trouble with state tests.

"In terms of their standardized test scores, I think they did fairly well in the English and language arts area, but the virtual academy did struggle with their math content scores, and so that's something we have some concerns about," said Andrew Broy, associate state superintendent for policy and external affairs. "We're watching to make sure they have a system in place to remediate students who didn't meet standards, and can actually move those students forward."

The academy believes that test scores will rise. Students and families believe this is working. And with growing demand, the academy hopes to begin serving high school students online within the next two years.

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