When the Western Pennsylvania cyberschool opened in the 2000-01 school year, 525 grade 12 students were enrolled in it. In the 2001-2002 school year, 996 students were enrolled (KPMG Consulting, 2001). Indeed, demographic figures are a testament to the success of the Western Pennsylvania cyberschool for, not only are enrolment figures steadily n the increase but, an increasing number of students and parents are opting for cyberschool as a preferred alternative to public schooling, with the result being that that while 48% of the enrolled students are former home schoolers, 52% are former public school students from twelve south west region counties. Added to that, 27 of the enrolled students are classified as gifted' and 117 are special education needs students (KPMG Consulting, 2001). The implication here is that, within Western Pennsylvania at least, cyberschooling is emerging as a viable, valid and vital alternative to public schooling.
Within the parameters of the outlined problem, the research shall attempt the determination of the impact of cyberschools on public education, with the focus being on Western Pennsylvania.
3 Definition of Key Terms
The focus of this action research is well-defined and limited to the relationship between public schooling and cyberschooling, on the one hand, and the emergence of cyberschools as an alternative to both home and public schooling. The focus, as stated, allows for the identification of three key terms, those being cyberschools, public education and home schooling. Each of these terms shall now be defined in order to contextualize their usage in the...
The focus of this action research is well-defined and limited to the relationship between public schooling and cyberschooling, on the one hand, and the emergence of cyberschools as an alternative to both home and public schooling. The research and data analysis carried out allows for the statement of a set of conclusions. The first of these is that the public school system is under tremendous strain, both because of increasing student populations and decreasing qualified teacher populations. The consequence of the aforementioned is the decreasing capacity for effective education and an ever dwindling ability to ensure the safety and security of students on school grounds and property. The stated has led many parents to turn to Homeschooling and, eventually, to cyberschools. As pertains to cyberschools, the research data allows for the conclusion that it is an effective, viable, vital and feasible alternative to both public education and Homeschooling.
This paper makes a conclusion that given that no data was found on the actual effect that cyberschools have had on the public school system, it is difficult to present definitive conclusions regarding this relationship. Nevertheless, one may assume that cyberschools will be integrated into the public school system in due course, thereby relieving state and federal governments of a substantial percentage of the cost involved in the maintenance and running of public schools and allowing access to education for those who, for a variety of reasons, had no previous access. In other words, cyberschools will not function as a threat to public schools but as a support system.