Looks like we might be needed for a while longer... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34671952 You can see why online charter schools in the United States were seen as the next big thing. Charter schools - publicly funded independent schools - have continued to expand across the US, with supporters seeing them as a way of re-energising standards in state education. And the educational technology sector has been pushing to bring some hi-tech start-up innovation to teaching and learning. So it's easy to see how the next step for a 21st Century education seemed to be a virtual classroom, combining the autonomy of charter schools with the flexibility of learning online. Except a major report, based on research in 17 US states with online charter schools, has found "significantly weaker academic performance" in maths and reading in these virtual schools compared with the conventional school system. The National Study of Online Charter Schools, the first major study of this growing sector, has taken a wrecking ball to the idea that pupils learn as effectively in such an online setting.