More and more parents are preferring their kids go to school online as opposed to attending class at a brick-and-mortar school.
Ana Gault is a teacher in Brownsville, but she won’t be found teaching in a typical classroom.
Her home office is the classroom and students see her through a webcam.
“[Online learning] is growing; it is scary how fast it is growing,” Gault said.
Online learning with schools, like Texas Connections, has an enrollment of 6,000 students a year in Texas, with more enrollment growing every year.
“For a lot of parents, brick and mortar [schools] now have so many issues,” Gault said.
Parents might choose online schools because of school safety or because their children are athletes, have special needs or are gifted.
Gault teaches for Texas Connections, an online school that operates as a charter school through Houston I.S.D., in which graduating students receive a diploma from Houston.
“The big issue really is where the funding would be and if the Texas Education Agency has not ruled how you account for virtual school or homeschooling without attendance.” said George McShan, an education consultant.
McShan was on Harlingen C.I.S.D.’s school board for many years and is now a consultant for school choice. He lobbies with state lawmakers to make sure online teachers are paid the same as public school teachers.
Gault says online learning is accredited and at the frontier of education.
“Usually we drop off our kids and we say, ‘how was your day?’ When we pick them up and they say ‘Great’ and we don’t really know what’s going on,” Gault said.