Parents want to send their children to schools that provide high-quality academics and align with their values. They also want more time with their children. These two desires need not conflict. A recent EdChoice poll revealed that only 41 percent of parents expressed a desire to send their children to on-campus schooling five days a week; 59 percent would prefer at least one day a week of home learning.
Due to the great awakening many public school parents experienced during COVID-19—and due to generally increased remote-work flexibility—it’s not surprising that the demand for K-12 hybrid learning is at an all-time high. Yet despite a 30-year track record of success, the segment of families enrolled in this model today is vanishingly small.
Traditional public schools and public charter schools have mostly failed to adopt this model. And even private school innovation has proven limited. The number of hybrid-model schools comes nowhere close to serving the 30 percent of parents that polling suggests desire a two- or three-day on-campus school week. But due to the expansion of education savings accounts (ESAs), the private sector can respond more robustly to meet this preference, and policymakers can take concrete steps to enable traditional public schools and public charter schools to do so as well.
One promising model of hybrid schooling is known as college-simulated learning (CSL). CSL is an academically rigorous, character-development-focused, and cost-effective school-family partnership approach to K-12 education. Students attend class on campus either two or three days a week and complete schoolwork the remaining days at home, with parental involvement.
Whereas typical hybrid homeschool models place primary academic responsibility on parents, the CSL model is designed with the on-campus school providing teachers, curricula, and assessments while equipping parents to facilitate learning during at-home days. It leverages the combination of on-campus time with peers and professional teachers with highly intentional parental involvement in the learning material. Sometimes the CSL model is referred to as University-Model when a school is a member of the trademarked association.
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