Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Online High School: Saving Drop Outs

By Ed Desmond

Online school may have innovative answers to the pervasive problem of high school drop outs. While a virtual school or internet school may not have solutions for every complex problem that can cause dropping out of school, for many who need credit recovery and an alternative to public high school, online high school may offer our best hope.

There are two general categories of the causes of dropping out. These are home related problems, and school related problems. This article will look at the subcategories of drop out predictors and how online high school may address these.

In my view, the guidance that can be provided by a professional case manager would be highly beneficial as soon as a student begins to exhibit predictive signs of dropping out. Typical school counselors are given so many extraneous tasks that they have little time remaining to do actual intervention. When possible, parents should also play as strong role as well.

The first area that is predictive of dropping out is poor academic performance and poor grades. Low grades are reflected in poor self esteem, negative peer acceptance, and general discouragement. Online high school allows the child to catch up in private, recover lost credits, and work at his own pace. .

Failure of one grade or more is also highly predictive of not attaining a diploma. The chances of leaving school before graduating can be more than 90% in those who have been held back grades. Grade retention results in his friends moving up without him, classes becoming repetitive and boring, and graduation slipping further away. The online option can be quite effective in catching the potential drop out.

One area where online high school is only partially effective is for serious behavior problems. When negative peer pressure is to blame, internet school can allow parents to better control and supervise the child's progress. Of course, strong parents are not always available. When a student is often getting in trouble, school can become a place where mostly punishment occurs. An online alternative may be of help.

Behavior problems are difficult to deal with in any setting. When considering switching to online school, it is wise to take into account that online education may require a good deal of self motivation and focus. Without parental supervision and mentoring, these behaviors can disrupt attempt at online schooling as well.

Frequent absence from school, and frequent moves from city to city are strong warnings that dropping out may occur. One great benefit of the internet is that it is portable. Wherever there is a connection, the student can attend class. This is perfect for families that travel a lot, athletes, and teens in other types of training.

When drop outs are questioned, they list dislike for school, parental duties, pregnancy, and job priorities as reasons. In these cases, traditional public school may just be too rigid. This is a good situation where the online school can offer the flexibility necessary for schooling to continue to graduation.

All across the U.S. schools are attacking the problem of drop outs. Online high school, while still in development, will have an increasing role to play. Given the nightmarish consequences of entering life without a high school diploma, this problem demands that every alternative be utilized. There are numerous online high schools to choose from. Finding which one is best for a particular child can save a child from poverty, and lost opportunities.

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