A paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Toronto reported on the extent to which online charter schools have racial diversity. Benjamin Herold wrote about the paper in Education Week. 

This struck me as an odd finding, because online instruction by definition is delivered by computer tostudents at home. There is little, if any, face to face contact among students.and since students may be spread across an entire state, the opportunities to interact with others is minimal.

There may be “diversity” in the school’s purported enrollment, but this would be diversity without integration. Students could be enrolled in a “diverse” virtual school yet never encounter a student of a different race.

Herold wrote:

“While full-time online charter schools nationally enroll a relatively high percentage of white students, there are significant variations in enrollment patterns by state, according to new research presented today at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, being held here.

“In Colorado, for example, the enrollment of online charters is just 36 percent white, compared to 54 percent in brick-and-mortar traditional and charter schools throughout the state, according to University of Alabama assistant education professor Bryan Mann.

“Online charters in Arizona, Nevada, and South Carolina, meanwhile, enroll significantly higher percentages of white students than do brick-and-mortar traditional and charter schools in their states.

“Most states have majority-white online charter school populations with less diversity than … other schools. However, there are states where students experience more diverse environments in online charter schools,” Mann wrote in a paper presented at the conference, titled “Whiteness and Economic Advantage in Digital Schooling: Equity Considerations for K-12 Online Charter Schools.”