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Virginia is timidly starting a full time virtual high school during the 2015–16 school year, with a limited enrollment of only 100 high school students. Del. Dickie Bell (R-Staunton) had sponsored the bill passed back in 2010 to setup the guidelines. It was signed into law by then Gov. Bob McDonnell (R).
Bell is not happy with the slow progress and the limitations on enrollment.
Bell said, “This is a tight grip on who and how many … This is not the same thing we’ve been working [towards] for five years. I’m disappointed in the cap and, secondly, the control by school divisions and guidance.”
While a virtual school is a step in the right direction for students and school choice, there are still a few issues. This does not include elementary students. Limiting enrollment to 100 appears to be an artificial limit. In fact, the advisory committee of school superintendents reviewing plans and making recommendation about Virtual Virginia, did not recommend a full time virtual high school. The only recommendations were suggestions involving just the expansion of current programs.
The virtual high school will be operated by Virtual Virginia and is a program of the Virginia Department of Education. It has been serving students online since 2002 with a variety of AP course options.