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I think Josh said it best: Why do communities still corral our kids together around a chalkboard, anyway? They waste time and energy on the bus and are forced to learn at someone else’s pace.

As you know we’ve been considering alternatives to IPS for Eleanor and Magnolia. Also, you probably know that Josh and I both have experienced working in tech start-up companies. We clearly embrace technology. So, Josh and I were very interested in exploring Connections Academy, a public school in Indianapolis that is all online learning. There, students can learn at their own pace. Anything a student needs is shipped to your door. (You provide the computer. There is a subsidy for Internet use.) Some lessons are given via live videos with Indiana-licensed teachers. All curriculum is designed to fit Indiana educational standards. Kids can take as many electives as they can handle, including debate, chess, Chinese, and many others. Those are the nuts and bolts. There are clearly the traditional issues of socialization. And sports will be tricky. But, given the opportunity for my kids’ educations to remain fairly stagnant, or for them to have a chance to excel, well, duh.

Also, Internet School is progressive and kind of cool. If you look at Wickipedia stats about telecommuting, it’s kind of interesting:

Estimates suggest that over fifty million U.S. workers (about 40% of the working population) could work from home at least part of the time.

Occasional telecommuters— those who work remotely (though not necessarily at home) —totaled 17.2 million in 2008.

In 2009 the Office of Personnel Management reported that approximately 102,000 Federal employees telework.

In the next three years, public and private sector IT decision makers expect telework to increase by 65% and 33%, respectively.

With more jobs becoming technology-based or Internet-related, it makes sense that schools would too. And while I get that there’s more to the school experience than getting prepared for the workforce, I maintain it’s a pretty big part of it. And I would even argue that socialization is becoming more and more online for the general population, as well. Many of the friends I’ve met since college, I’ve never met in person.

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