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Are Cyber Elementary Schools Coming to New York?

While these schools may be cheaper to run, they haven’t demonstrated a record of success.
Students work on their laptops in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Students work on their laptops in Dorchester, Massachusetts.Adam Hunger/Reuters

Last Wednesday, the office of New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced that Miami-Dade School Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, would be the new chancellor of New York City’s school system, and that Carvalho would be in New York City the following day for a formal announcement. On Thursday, Carvalho was still in Miami. He then stunned New York City officials when, during the course of a televised Miami school board meeting, Carvalho disappeared twice, finally returning to announce that, after hearing from students and members of the community who pleaded with him to stay, he would remain in Florida.

New York City officials had some choice words for Carvalho on Twitter, but at least one of his signature accomplishments might make one wonder why they thought he was the right person for New York City in the first place: In Miami, Carvalho founded an Enriched Virtual learning school, iPrep Academy, where he still serves as principal. iPrep Academy is an online school that works with a company called Florida Virtual School (FLVS), and online learning is the core educational delivery method, though students also have the opportunity to work with a teacher in a small-group setting a few times each week. This is a growing educational form for racially and economically diverse school systems like New York City’s, the nation’s largest and one of the most segregated. The New York City system educates 1.1 million children each year, over 70 percent of whom come from families that receive some form of public assistance.