Virtual Schools: An Ethical Option
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 4 No. 3 (2003): Vol-4-Issue-3-March-2003
An odyssey of civil rights in education has been taking place in America over the last 16 years. The
school choice issue has heated up in the last decade and a half, traversing the years from 1990, with
the first urban school choice program in Wisconsin, to 2006, with a suit filed against Los Angeles
Unified Schools for lack of cooperation in informing parents of educational options available. The core
argument is that parents, not government, should have the primary responsibility and economic power
to determine where and how their children should be educated. This is a basic ethical, philosophical,
and human rights concern, and is an essential American freedom.
The Questions Everyone Asks
Proponents and opponents ask two crucial questions: Should parents receive vouchers to choose the
schools their children attend or take advantage of charter schools offered in many states? Moreover,
should parents remove their children from brick and mortar schools and choose virtual online schools
instead? Parents want what is best for their children. A growing number of parents say they have the
moral, ethical, and civil right to choose where their children attend school. The public schools express
serious concerns over the loss of revenue that could result from mass withdrawals from physical
schools. Religious communities have opened schools that address parents’ ethical and moral concern.
In addition, charter schools have opened to address specific learning needs. This paper addresses the
position of virtual schools, and suggests that the educational community consider the ethical
implications of this mode of instruction.